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Islamic Law and Purification of the Heart 









In the name of Allah; the Mosl Gracious, the Mosl Merciful. 

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds; and peace and 

blessings be upon the mosl Honorable of Messengers, Muhammad, 

and upon his family and companions, and all those who follow them 

in righteousness, until the Day of Judgment. 

Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are 
all for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds... 


Islamic Law 
Purification of the Heart 

Shaikh al-Hadith 

Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhelwl 

Madania Publications 

© 2011 Madania Publications 

First Edition 2006, Second Edition 2008 

Third revised and extended Edition June 2011 

Printed and bound in the United States of America on acid-free paper 
This book may not be altered in any way without permission from Madania Publications. 
Madania Publications is committed to making authentic publications of traditional 
Islamic scholarship available and accessible for the public benefit. Please contact us to 

acquire our books at special discounted rates for nonprofit purposes. 

Translation: Asim Ahmad 

Book Design: Arc Manor, LLC 

Copyediting: Meha Ahmad 

Arabic Calligraphy: Mohammad Alagha & Muhammad Zakariya 

Cover Design: MK & ZH 

Cover Photo: Matthew Hall 

Library of Congress: 2010933738 
ISBN: 9781936157037 

Distributed in USA by Al-Rashad Books 


Distributed in Canada by Al Zahra Booksellers 


Distributed in UK by Azhar Academy Ltd. London 


Distributed in South Africa by Darun Nashr Islamic World 


Published by 

Madania Publications 

New York USA C/3 1-716-4800163 

www. madaniapublications . com ?f info@madaniapublications. com 

I_A' SM I ,> £n\MJ CAl Ul^ Jt—fcjS- Ijlll ^> ^ Sj^u - >•— fcJ JU»Tj UJ 

6 t 


And, our Lord, raise in their midst a Messenger from 

among them, who should recite to them Your verses, 

and teach them the Book and the Wisdom, and make 

them pure. (2/129) 


I owe this translation to my upbringing by my loving and wise parents, 
to the blessings of my shaikh, and to the beautiful spiritual environment 
of Darul Uloom al-Madania. After that, I cannot forget Meekail Smith, 
Mrs. Osman, my sister Mrs. Ahmad, Amir Bashir, Hasan Shibly and the 
many others who made this book come true. May Allah gjfr bless them all 
and may He secure a place for them in the everlasting abode of Paradise. 

Transliteration Key 

«• j) '(the hamza is produced by a 
sudden stop in the airstream 
similar to the sound in the 
middle of the exclamation, 

\ a, a 

u, b 

o t 

*i> th (is pronounced like the th in 
thick and thumb) 

L J 

J_ h (a heavy ^ sound produced in 

the center of the throat) 
£_ kh (a guttural k sound produced 

in the upper throat and sounding 

similar to the ch in German as in 

a d 
i dh (is pronounced like the th in 

though and ^m*) 
j r 
j z 
j* * 
j 1 sh 

cf s (an emphatic s) 
J* d (an emphatic d) 
Js> £ (an emphatic t) 
ii z (an emphatic «//?) 
? ', <?, 'i, '« (produced in the center 

of the throat) 
f_ sh ( a guttural g sound produced 

in the upper throat) 

± f 
















y, l, i 

q (a heavy k sound) 

%. Radiya Allahu 'anha — may Allah 
0gz be pleased with her (used follow- 
ing mention of a female companion 
of the Blessed Prophet j§i) 

sjji. Radiya Allahu 'anhu — may 
Allah $0 be pleased with him 
(used following mention of a 
male companion of the Blessed 
Prophet J§&) 

j|l Radiya Allahu 'anhum — may 
Allah 0* be pleased with them 
(used following mention a group 
of companions of the Blessed 
Prophet j&) 

J&. Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam - may 
the peace and blessings be upon 
him (used following mention of 
the Blessed Prophet J&) 

0^ Subhanahu wa Ta 'ala — He who 
is sublime and High 

*ȣ 'alaihi al-Salam - may peace be up- 
on him (used following mention 
of prophets) 




Shari'a xv 

Tasawwuf- — Tariqa xvii 


The Scholars ofDeoband I 

The Inseparability of Shari'a and Tasawwuf. 4 

The Blessed Prophet j§j was Made to Forget 5 

Sins and Conflicts of Companions S§t was for Completion of Din .... 6 

Two Incidents of Forgiveness 7 

Greatness of the Companions <$£. 9 

Belief of Ahl Al-Sunna About the Companions S§t 11 

Criticizing the Companions jjjjt 13 

Internal Conflicts of the Companions H|t. 16 

Shortcomings in Our Understanding 19 


Fulfilling the Proprieties of the Qur'an 29 

Fifteen Sciences of the Qur'an 30 

Foundations of the Shari'a 32 

Conditions for Acting in Accordance With the Qur'an 33 

Conclusion 34 


Types ofHadith 36 

The True Scholarship ofHadith 38 

Imam Bukhari's Quartet 41 


What is Fiqh? 47 


iv: ijtihAd 50 

Definition ofljtihad 50 

Conditions for Being a Mujtahid 50 

Types of Mujtahids 54 

Tools ofljtihad 55 

Claim To Ijtihad 56 

Possibility of Mujtahids in Our Time 57 



Three Proofs of Restricting to Four Imams 59 

Taqlid to the four Imams is Incidental 60 

Only the Four Imams will be Followed 62 


The Reality of Taqlid 64 

A letter by Shaikh Qasim 67 

Confession of a Salafi Scholar 69 

Discourse Between Shaikh Qasim and a Salafi Scholar 69 

An Anecdote 70 



The Madhhab of Imam Abu Hanifa 73 

Misconceptions About Hanafi Madhhab 76 

If the Hadith is Authentic It is My Madhhab 78 

Respect For All Madhhabs and Imams 79 

The Ten Proprieties 82 


Objective of Tasawwuf is Ihsan 85 

Tasawwuf Creates love For the Sunna 87 

The letters of Shaikh Ahmad Sarhindi 88 

Tasawwuf is Adherence to the Sunna and Shari'a 93 

The Difference Between the Knower and the Ignorant 95 

letters of Shaikh Madam 96 


Ibn Taimiyya, Ibn Qayyim and Tasawwuf 102 

Morals of the Sufi 105 

IX: BAI'A no 

The Sunna ofBai'a no 

Narrations About Bai'a 116 



Effects of the Company of the Blessed Prophet j§j 119 

Incidents From the Lives of the Companions S§t 121 


Spiritual Remedies to Help Attain Ihsan 123 

Spiritual States 124 

Adjusting Spiritual Remedies to the Times 127 

The Meaning of Innovation in Din 128 

The Different Spiritual States 129 



Two Conditions for a Mentor: Piety and Competence 132 

Conditions for Being a Mentor 133 

Exertions of Past Mentors 137 

The Tragedy of Tasawwuf Terminologies and Objectives 140 

Who are the Sufis? 145 

The Different Types of Sufis 148 

Key to Paradise 148 



Panacea For the Heart 150 

The Greatest Dhikr: Id Ilaha Ilia Allah 0» 153 

Objections Raised About Dhikr 153 


Evidence of Visualization of Mentor 158 


Beneficial For the Advanced Dangerous for Beginners 161 

Method of Visualization 163 

Drawing the Line Between Permissible and Impermissible 164 

An Anecdote 165 

Shaikh Gangohi's Spirituality 166 



Clairvoyance: Not an Objective of the Path 169 

Clairvoyance of the Grave 170 

Spiritual Discernment of the Believer 175 


Words Uttered in Spiritual Intoxication 179 

Stories of the Overwhelmed Ones 181 

Drawing False Assumptions 183 


The Causes Behind Ecstatic Phrases 184 


The True Meaning Behind the Words of the Wise 188 


The Dangers of Arrogance 192 

The Deception of Satan 196 

True Humility 196 

The Obsession of the Self. 199 

The Hardships Arrogant Thoughts Bring on Us 200 

Arrogance Works Havoc on the Heart 202 


'Their Crooked is Also Straight' 209 

Those Who Declare War Against the Friends of Allah 0* 211 




In Shari'a and Jhriqa, Shaikh Zakariyya strives to raise awareness 
of the ignorance and liberal mindedness that has become entrenched in 
Muslim society and that has become a part of mainstream Islamic thought 
in our times. He attributes his own upbringing amongst god-fearing and 
pious people as having saved him from the mindset common in the present 
day, in which many Muslims feel no compunction in objecting against the 
pious and learned. It is not uncommon to have heard someone we know 
personally questioning the character of the Companions tife. and raising 
objections about the internal conflicts between them. 

The introduction discusses the names, lives and time periods of the 
great scholars who helped build the sheikh's own character and iman. He 
explains through his personal example why the Din is not learned through 
books or scholars alone; instead, it is learned through good examples and 
pious company. Many of the objections raised about the Companions jSjjt, 
the question of taqlid, and other subjects discussed in Shari'a and Tariqa 
are essentially due to both the lack of pious company and a lack of the 
qualities which such company produces, such as taqwa (piety), sincerity, 
humility etc. As Shaikh Zakariyya himself says in another chapter, 'One of 
the main reasons for sending prophets was that they embodied the mean- 
ing of their revealed books and demonstrated it in their practical life.' In 
other words, Allah $& could have revealed the books directly upon the 
people and left it to them to read and apply it in their lives. Instead, He 
sent prophets and in doing so showed us that the method of gaining Din is 

Shari'a &TarIqa 

not in reading books but in keeping pious company. The understanding of 
Din that is gained from the company of the god-fearing eliminates doubt 
in the heart, lack of iman, and insincerity which gives rise to objections, 
argumentation, and indifference towards the Din. This is why Allah 0i 
emphasizes sitting in the company of the pious. He says, 

O ye who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are true 
[in word anc. 

In the first and second chapter, Shaikh Zakariyya reveals the igno- 
rance of modernists and the reason for the rise of many deviated sects in 
our times. In narrating the fields that are necessary to master before one 
can be qualified to interpret the Quran and Sunna, he makes it clear that 
many of those who lay claim to spreading the Quran and Sunna, and who 
hold gatherings where the Quran is translated and explained, do not in 
fact fulfill the prerequisite conditions. It is easy to understand then how 
such people are ignorant and are following their own desires in the guise 
of the Quran and Sunna. 

In succeeding chapters, Shaikh Zakariyya turns his attention to one 
of the most controversial issues of our times. Many have called for a need 
for dialogue on this issue, but Shaikh Zakariyya explains that following 
an imam in our time is more important now than in the preceding cen- 
turies. It is only ignorance of our own lack of knowledge which leads us 
to think that we can lead life as practicing Muslims without following 
an imam. In the past, Muslims recognized their own ignorance and the 
importance of following an imam was clear to them. Shaikh Zakariyya 
speaks passionately and at length on this subject, drawing from all of the 
critical sources to prove his argument: Quran, Sunna, scholars, history, 
personal experiences, and anecdotes. 

With the main areas of Shari'a discussed, he takes the reader through 
a detailed analytical study of Tasawwuf. Again, he addresses many of the 
misunderstandings arising from an ignorance of Tasawwuf and provides 
detailed evidence of the meditative devotions and exertions used in Tasaw- 
wuf, upon which he then ends the book. He also establishes the middle 
ground between the two groups who fall into excessiveness [ifrat] and re- 
missness [tafrlt] in this matter. One group rejects Tasawwuf outright and 
considers it a blatant innovation in the Din. The second group downplays 
the importance of Shari'a and thinks the spiritual states and ecstatic expe- 
riences of Tasawwuf are themselves the ultimate objective. 


Throughout his discourse, he switches between evidence, anecdotes, 
scholarly discussion, experience, and knowledge, helping the reader to stay 
engaged in what is a difficult but extremely important subject. 

One of the main themes of this book, as one will note [with the au- 
thor consistently referring to past recent scholars, history, and the pious 
predecessors] is that the community [umma] cannot turn its back on the 
tradition of the pious predecessors and draw new patterns of following the 
Quran and Sunna; it must hold on to the ways of the pious predecessors 
in order to stay on the straight path. 


To derive full benefit and enjoyment from this book it is important to 
understand many of the terms that are used repeatedly [some more, some 
less] throughout the book. Though many new terms are introduced in 
Shari'a and Tarlqa, the terms listed below are different in that they are 
essential to understanding the purpose of the book. The example of 
these terms is like how the oneness of Allah 0* and the prophethood of 
the Blessed Prophet j§& are essential to understanding Islam. We ask that 
the readers familiarize themselves with these terms and include them in 
their vocabulary before they begin reading Shari'a and Tarlqa. 


An Independent Jurist [Mujtahid] 

Mujtahid derives from the root word juhd, which means 'to exert.' In Is- 
lamic terminology, a mujtahid is a jurist who is bestowed with the ability 
to derive rulings from the Quran and Sunna. In one hadith, the Blessed 
Prophet j§j explains: 

Whoever Allah 0i wishes good for, He blesses them with under- 
standing in the Din. 2 

Some of the points gained from this hadith are: 

A mujtahid does not gain deep understanding of the Din through his 
effort or by mastering the different sciences of Quran and Sunna. This 

Shari'a &Taeuqa 

deep understanding is a gift of Allah 0? which He grants to whomever He 
wills. In this way, we see a likeness between the mujtahids and prophets 
in so far as that the mujtahids are also chosen by Allah 0i. They do not 
achieve their position by hard work and effort but are granted it by the will 
of Allah g&. 

Knowledge can be gained through books and people but a true un- 
derstanding of Din comes from Allah 0z alone. Even if one dedicates his 
whole life to gaining knowledge of Din, he cannot be a mujtahid. 

A deep understanding in Din is a gift of Allah 0z; He gives this gift 
to His most devout believers and those who have attained a high level 
of taqwa, Iman, and piety. Though a deep understanding of Din is not 
given on the basis of taqwa and Iman [otherwise most of our pious pre- 
decessors would have been mujtahid], it is true that He blesses the people 
whom he grants the gift of deep understanding with piety, taqwa and 
sublime characters. This is similar to how Allah $& grants prophethood 
to those whom He blesses with the best of character and the highest level 
of Iman and taqwa; though it is His prerogative to grant prophethood to 
whomever He wills. 

We learn from the above discussion that the mujtahids were exalted 
because of two qualities: their deep understanding of Din and secondly, 
the purity of their hearts and their exemplary character. They were blessed 
with the qualities of love for Allah .Jga, love for the Blessed Prophet j§&, hu- 
mility, sincerity, taqwa, benevolence, altruism, sacrificing for others, lack 
of pretension, etc. Though they are known less for their second quality 
than for the first, their personal lives [and those who have read their biog- 
raphies would know] are as much a source of guidance and inspiration for 
the community as their rulings in the books. 

The four imams differed in thousands of issues but despite that, they 
never debased each other or stopped their students from sitting in one 
another's gatherings. They respected and praised each other even before 
their students. Therefore, we see that the student of one imam may be 
the teacher or student of another. For example, Imam Muhammad was 
the student of Imam Abu Hanlfa and also the teacher of Imam Shafi'l. 
Imam Muhammad, who was one of Imam Abu Hanlfa s main students, 
and who first compiled his rulings in five books, was also a student of 
Imam Malik. 

These facts reflect the greatness of their character and the sincerity 
of their work and dedication to the Din. When compared to their noble 
example, we observe that difference of opinion in our time leads only to 
sectarianism and hatred. Thus, we become aware of the decadent spiritual 


condition of our community today. Without purity of heart, taqwa, and 
sincerity our differences of opinion today have become a war of egos. 

No one had a deeper understanding in Din than the Blessed Prophet Jps. 
Yet, on certain occasions the Blessed Prophet Js himself was corrected 
through revelation [e.g. prisoners in the battle of Badr] of a mistake in his 
ijtihad. This point illustrates that deep understanding in Din doesn't neces- 
sarily mean that one is always right. A difference of opinion, as amongst the 
mujtahids, indicates that Tightness is not biased in favor of any one imam. 
One imam may be right in one issue while another imam in another issue. 


The person not bestowed with a deep understanding of Din will practice 
taqlid. Taqlid is following the mujtahid without asking for proof and ac- 
cepting that the mujtahid possesses proof for his ruling. An example of 
taqlid is like going to the doctor when we are sick. When the doctor pre- 
scribes something for us, we don't question him and demand proof and 
explanations as to why he prescribed one medicine and not another. 


A person who practices taqlid. 


Madhhab means a path or way. It conventionally refers to the four schools 
of Imam Shafi'l, Imam Abu Hanlfa, Imam Malik, and Imam Ahmad 
ibn Hanbal. Though other madhhabs existed in the earlier Islamic era, 
their muqallids died out and very few of the rulings of their imams were 
preserved in the books. As a result, the word madhhab became largely as- 
sociated with the above mentioned four madhhabs only. 


Tasawwuf is comprised of two essential parts: a shaikh and, secondly, 
meditative devotions and exertions. The purpose of the shaikh and 
meditative devotions and exertions is to help a seeker attain the level of 
ihsan and to remove all obstacles that come between the seeker and his 
destination [the attainment of ihsan]. Some of these obstacles are hatred, 

Shari'a &TarIqa 

jealousy, arrogance, anger, love for wealth, love for the self, etc. Four 
things are required in order for a seeker to gain maximum benefit from 
his shaikh: 

i Trust in the spiritual mentor [i'tiqdd] 

2 Adherence [ittibd'] 

3 Submissiveness [inqiydd] 

4 To inform [ittild'] 

Trust [i'tiqdd] in the mentor is like a bridge by which the seeker gains 
the next three qualities and progresses in attaining ihsan. There is nothing 
between the mentor and the seeker without trust. 

To acquire the attributes of adherence [ittibd'] and submissiveness [in- 
qiydd], love for the shaikh, is essential. The more love one has for his 
mentor the more benefit he will gain from him. This is why the books of 
Tasawwuf often emphasize the importance of love for the shaikh. 

Adherence [ittibd'] is that the seeker is consistent in performing the 
meditative devotions [ashgdl] and exertions [mujdhaddt] prescribed by 
his mentor. 

Submissiveness [inqiydd] is that the seeker does not question his men- 
tor nor does he raise objections in his mind or heart against him. Objec- 
tions against the mentor are the main cause for deviation of the seeker, as 
they are a sign of arrogance in his heart. 

To inform [ittild'], is to keep the spiritual mentor informed of his spiri- 
tual states, his performance in the devotions, and any other information 
that helps the mentor understand the condition of the seeker. 

Other names for Tasawwuf are: tazkiya, Suluk, tarlqa, ihsan, haqlqa, 
'ilm al-adab, and 'ilm al-akhldq. 

Pledging Allegiance With the Shaikh [Bat 'a] 

Bai'a is not essential to Tasawwuf. It is only to signify the importance 
upon which the bai'a is made, which is abidance by the Shari'a. Otherwise 
the main components of Tasawwuf are as mentioned above. Abidance by 
the Shari'a means to abstain from all sins, major and minor, and to fulfill 
all the requirements and laws of Shari'a. Through the bai'a, the shaikh 
vows to help guide the seeker in reaching the aforementioned objectives 
while the seeker takes the responsibility of adherence and submissiveness 
to the shaikh. He also agrees to keep his shaikh informed of his spiritual 
condition and developments. 


Remembrance of Allah [Dhikr] 

The main tool by which ihsan is achieved is dhikr of Allah 0i. The dhikr 
of Allah 0z is the core of all meditative devotions in Tasawwuf. It is per- 
formed with certain restrictions and in different methods to produce the 
effects that eventually bring about ihsan. The four paths of Naqshbandi- 
yya, Chishtiyya, Suharwardiyya, and Qadiriyya all prescribed their own 
methods of performing dhikr of Allah jjg&. 


In the hadith of Jibrall, ihsan is defined as, "worship Allah 0z as if you 
see Him, and if this is not so, then that He is seeing you." It is important 
to note that the Blessed Prophet §k did not say, "Know that Allah 0* sees 
you", because ihsan is not an intellectual attainment but a conscious state 
of awareness of Allah $$t that is born in the heart. 

Ihsan is the highest level of iman. Tasawwuf and all its parts [bai'a 
to a mentor and the meditative devotions and exertions] are for the sole 
objective of achieving ihsan. Ihsan was easily achieved in the time of the 
Blessed Prophet j§& through obligatory acts, recitation of Quran, and by 
being in the blessed company of the Blessed Prophet §&. As the spiritual 
condition of the community deteriorated over time, the level of ihsan 
could no longer be attained in the same manner and through the same 
acts as it was in the time of the Blessed Prophet Jfi. Thus, the spiritual 
masters developed new methods [meditative devotions and exertions] to 
help attain the level of ihsan. 

The example of meditative devotions and exertions are like the mushaf 
[hard copy] of the Quran. There was no mushaf in the time of the Blessed 
Prophet J|s, nor is there any evidence of it in the Quran and Sunna, yet 
never has controversy arisen about it being an innovation. This is because 
the community understands that is a necessary means of achieving an 
order of Allah 0i, which is preservation of the Quran. One will find 
numerous examples of such acts [traditional schools, books on Din, etc.] 
of which there is no evidence from the Quran and Sunna but which are 
necessary only because they are a means of achieving an order of Allah 0* 
and have thus gained the consensual acceptance of the whole community. 

The meditative devotions and exertions devised by the spiritual masters 
fall under the same category of acts that help achieve an order of Allah 0z, 
which is the achievement of ihsan. It is essential to note here that these acts 
are a means to an objective and are not objectives in themselves. There- 
fore, if somebody takes them as objectives, he is innovating in the Din. 

Shari'a &TarIqa 

Meditative Devotions [Shugl-Asghdt] 3 

Shugl linguistically means to be occupied in something. Any type of medi- 
tative devotion prescribed to train the heart in keeping busy with remem- 
brance of Allah 0i and eventually achieving ihsan is called shugl. 

Uttered Devotions [Aurdd] 

Uttered devotions are the devotions in which only the tongue is occupied 
in the remembrance of Allah 0i and which in meditation of the heart is 
not required. This includes the tasblhat [subhan Allah, al-hamd li Allah, 
Allah akbar] and other such devotions. 

Spiritual Exertions [Mujdhada-Mujdhaddt] 

Any type of effort or exertion [whether prescribed by the shaikh or not] that 
is used to help suppress and dominate the lower self [nafs] is called a mu- 
jahada. The four major categories of mujahadat are minimal talking [qUlat 
al-kalam\, minimal sleep [qUlat al-manam\, minimal socialization [qUlat 
al-ikhtUat ma al-Anam\, and minimal eating and drinking [qdlat al-ta'am\. 

Reality [Haqlqd\ 

Haqlqa means reality. Imam Qushairl says: 

Shari'a is servitude to Allah 0i whereas haqlqa is observation of the 
lordship of Allah Jgs. Shari'a is to worship Him while haqlqa is to see 
Him. Shari'a is to implement His order whereas haqlqa is to observe 
His decree. 

Shaikh Thanwl says: 

After the heart of the seeker is purified and illuminated [through 
dhikr of Allah J&], certain realities of the corporeal and non- 
corporeal are made evident to him; more specifically, the reality of 
good and bad deeds, the reality of Allah 0i in His attributes and His 
dealings, especially those between Him and His servants. 

For example, one is knowledge of an apple and one is the reality that 
one gains after seeing and tasting an apple. Likewise, when the heart is 


purified, the realities explained of the transient world and the Hereafter in 
the Quran and Sunna become plain and clear to the seeker. 

Bond [Nisba] 

Nisba literally means bond or relation. In Tasawwuf, nisba refers to the 
intimate bond that forms between a servant and his Creator after a seeker 
traverses the path of Tasawwuf. The example of nisba [these examples are 
only to bring the meaning of terms closer to our understanding and do not 
in any way express the reality of these meanings] is like the special bond a 
mother has with her own child. Though she is kind and loving to all chil- 
dren, the love, kindness, and affection she has for her own child [which is 
born out of the special bond she has with her child] is altogether different. 
When a seeker achieves this nisba he performs the obligatory, neces- 
sary, and Sunna acts with the type of earnestness and energy that is usually 
reserved for things of a worldly nature, as he seeks nothing but the pleasure 
of his Creator. 


Suluk is the traversing of a path. There are two paths in Tasawwuf: the 
path of Suluk and the path of jadhb. The path of Suluk takes one to- 
wards Allah 0* through spiritual exertions and devotions. Once one be- 
comes steadfast and consistent with his devotions, he attains the nisba of 
Allah 0z by which the path of Suluk is traversed with ease. 

The path of jadhb means that a person attains the nisba of Allah jjftfr, 
without effort or will. Though it is defined as a "path" in Tasawwuf termi- 
nology, it is actually a bestowal of Allah $$*, and few people are chosen for 
this path. The person on the path of jadhb is called majdhub. A majdhub is 
in a heightened spiritual state that effects his senses and intellect, by which 
he may lose his senses and is often mistaken for an insane person. 

The terms Suluk and haqlqa are used interchangeably with Tasawwuf, 
the difference between them being that Tasawwuf is like the vehicle, Suluk 
is the path, and haqlqa the fruits of this path. None are objectives; the only 
objective is attainment of ihsan. 

Perpetual Spiritual State [Maqdm — Muqdmdt] 

A maqam linguistically means a station. In Tasawwuf terminology, it is 
the perpetuating of certain spiritual qualities in the heart through exer- 
tions. Reaching a maqam is another way of saying that the seeker has 

Shari'a &TarIqa 

attained a particular quality. Many times, achieving one maqam is a re- 
quirement for the attainment of another. For example, a seeker cannot 
reach the maqam of trust in Allah 0i [tawakkul] until the maqam of 
contentment [qana'a] is achieved. Likewise, the maqam of complete obe- 
dience to Allah 0* [inaba] cannot be established until one has achieved 
the maqam of repentance [tauba]. 

Temporal Spiritual State [Hdl-Ahwdl] 

Hal in Arabic means a state or condition. In Tasawwuf, hal is defined 
as the state or condition of a seeker after the passing of an involuntary 
thought or meaning [through the heart] or after a sudden and overwhelm- 
ing feeling— as in euphoria [tarab] or grief [huzn]— overtakes the seeker. 
Ahwal are differentiated from perpetual spiritual states in that temporal 
spiritual states are from Allah 0z and are temporary while perpetual states 
are achieved through exertions and are continual. 

Descent of a Spiritual Meaning [Wdrid-Wdriddt] 

A warid derives from the root word warada which means 'to arrive at' or 
'to come to.' In Tasawwuf, a warid is the descent of a feeling into the heart 
from Allah 0* or an epiphany that manifest realities of something and in- 
creases ones knowledge of a particular reality. A warid can strain the heart 
severely enough to incapacitate or even bring on death. 4 


i 9:119 

2 Bukhari, al-'Ilm Qabl al-Qaul wa al-'Amal 

3 Where two words are parenthesized the first is singular and the second plural. 

4 Definitions are taken from Shari'a and Tarlqat [Shaikh Ashraf 'All Thanwi] and al- 
Risalat al-Qushairiyya [Abd al-Karim ibn Hawazin al-Qushairi]. 



All praise is due to Allah 0i and peace and blessings be upon the Blessed 
Prophet j§&. This useless person [the author] was born on the 11 th of Ra- 
madan, 1315/1898 2 at 11 p.m. in my mother's step-grandmother's house in 
the town of Kandhela, India. My mother's step-grandmother was known 
by the name of Maryam. She was a worshipful, austere, and extremely 
generous woman. The elders of Kandhela came to her home immedi- 
ately after the Ramadan salat [tardwih], congratulated her, and called 
for sweets. She ordered the sweets and gave them out generously to her 
guests. The house was full of hustle-bustle and joy on that day. 

The town of Kandhela is situated in Muzaffarnagar District. DuAba? 
the popular name for this area in the past and a name which is widely 
used to this day, was once a center of Shari'a [Divine Law] and Tasawwuf. 
This name is often found in the writings and speeches of our elders. This 
area includes Delhi, Mlrat, Muzaffarnagar, and Saharanpur districts [Ut- 
tar Pradesh, India]. Du Aba geographically refers to the area between the 
confluence of the famous Yamuna River which flows from the west and 
the Ganges River that merges in from the east. 

This area was a fountainhead of Shari'a and Tasawwuf which be- 
gan with the noted family of Shah Wall Allah Dehlawl 4 whose spiritual 
outpouring [faid] spread through the spiritual family of al-Haj Imdad 
Allah. 5 One of the smallest effects of the blessing of this area was that the 
most unlettered of Shaikh Gangohl's 6 spiritual students [murlds] became 
strict adherents of the Sunnas. I saw some of the most illiterate village 
people devoted to the nightly salat [tahajjud] in a way unparalleled even 

Shari'a &TarIqa 

amongst the elders. This was the situation of this blessed area in matters 
of Shari'a. 

As for Tasawwuf, fifty-six washer men would gather by the famous 
Gadda Pond next to Shaikh Gangohl's sanctum [khanqa]. Instead of sing- 
ing or humming, they would chant the name of Allah 0* loudly. I myself 
have never met anyone from Shah Wall Allah's family, though I did meet 
many of the elders and younger members of the spiritual family of al-Haj 
Imdad Allah. 

I never saw Shaikh al-Haj Imdad Allah because he passed away only 
two years after my birth on the 12 th or 13 th of Jumada al-Thanl in 1317/1899, 
in Makka. Likewise, I did not meet the Proof of Islam, Shaikh Nanautwi, 7 
as he had passed away eighteen years before my birth on the 4 th of Jumada 
al-Awwal, 1296/1879. Similarly, I never met Shaikh Muhammad Isma'll 
Jhanjhahnwl 8 , Kandhelwl, then Dehlawl because he passed away in Delhi 
in Nawab Wall Masjid on the 4 th of Shawwal, 1315/1898, approximately 
twenty days after my birth. I heard from our elders that when my [pater- 
nal] grandfather heard the news of my birth he said, "My replacement has 
come and now it is time for my departure." I have heard numerous stories 
about the elders of the Imdad Allah family. 

I met Shaikh Gangohl many times because he passed away when I 
was eight years old on the 8 th of Jumada al-Thanl, 1323/1905 in Gangoh 
[U.P., India]. I clearly recall his countenance and how he sat cross-legged 
on the grounds of the sanctum. Once he wrapped his hands around me 
and embraced me [I remember eating with him on various occasions and 
sitting with him in a palanquin carried by the greatest spiritual mentors 
(shuyukh) of the time to the 'Eid prayer area] . This was the enlightened era 
of Shari'a and Tasawwuf. 

After that I had the opportunity to stay with my spiritual mentor, 
the Venerable Khalll Ahmad Saharanpuri, 9 from Rajab 1328/1910 to Dhu 
al-Qa'da 1345/1926, excluding the year in which Shaikh al-Hind [Shaikh 
Mahmud al-Hasan : °] and my Shaikh Khalll Ahmad Saharanpuri were in 
Hijaz [region of Makka and Medina]. I left Madina on the 16 th of Dhu 
al-Qa'da 1345/1927 whereas my spiritual mentor passed away [approximate- 
ly five months later] in Madina on the 16 th of Rabl' al-Thanl 1346/1927. 
Although I was present during the lifetime of Shaikh al-Hind Mahmud 
al-Hasan [he passed away on the 18 th of Rabl' al-Awwal 1339/1920], I saw 
little of him as he was in prison for many years in Malta. The only times I 
saw him was when he visited Deoband before and after his imprisonment. 
However, I met his students, spiritual students and the elders of Deoband 
numerous times. 


I also saw much of Shah 'Abd al-Rahlm 11 before he passed away 
on the 24 th of Rabl' al-Thanl 1338/1920. I also had the opportunity to 
spend a lot of time with "The One Who Linked the Younger Spiritual 
Mentors to the Older Ones" [mulhiq al-asaghir bi al-akabir], Shaikh 
Ashraf 'All Thanwl, as he passed away on the 12 th of Rajab 1362/1943. I 
attach the title of "mulhiq al-asaghir bi al-akabir" to his name because 
Shaikh Thanwl 12 gained his successorship [khilafa] from al-Haj Imdad 
Allah, which means that he was the primary link between the younger 
generation of seekers [murids] and successors [khulafd] and the older 
generation of mentors [i.e. al-Haj Imdad Allah, Hafiz Damin, Shaikh 
Muhammad Thanwl etc.]. 

In Shari'a, Shaikh Thanwl obtained permission [ijdza] of hadith from 
Shaikh Fazl al-Rahman Ganj Muradabadl 13 who obtained permission from 
Shah Abd Aziz. 14 Therefore, it is narrated in the book Arwah-e-Thalatha' s 
that Hakim Ni'mat Allah asked Shaikh Ganj Muradabadl, "Has the Shai- 
kh read any ahadlth from Shah Abd al-AzIz?" "Yes," he replied. Hakim 
Ni'mat Allah said, "If you give me permission [to transmit these ahadlth], 
I will also gain the blessings of this chain." After narrating a few ahadlth 
from Mishkdt al-Masablh, 16 he [Shaikh Ganj Muradabadl] said, "I give you 
permission." After that, he advised me about the importance of practicing 
upon one's knowledge. 

I always desired to get permission from Shaikh Thanwl to gain his 
high chain [sanad] and even journeyed many times to Thana Bavan for 
this purpose, but was too ashamed to ask. How was I going to ask for 
permission when I didn't even know anything? Though I never obtained a 
chain from Hazrat Thanwl, many of my own students did, thus gaining a 
higher chain than myself. 

Furthermore, I saw much of the life of Shaikh of Islam, Shaikh Hus- 
sain Madam 17 before he passed away on the 12 th of Jumada al-Awwal 1377/ 
December 4, 1957 in Deoband. I also observed the life of my guardian, 
the Imam of Humility, Shaikh Abd al-Qadir RaipurP 8 because he passed 
away on the 14 th of Rabl' al-Awwal, 1382/August 15, 1962. I was fortunate 
to sit in his company on numerous occasions. I also spent a great deal of 
time with my respected uncle, the Imam of Tabllgh, Shaikh Ilyas 19 because 
he passed away on the 21 st of Rajab 1363/July 12, 1944. 

I needed to mention the era of these spiritual mentors to show that 
every inch of Du Aba was a center of Shari'a and Tasawwuf through the 
blessings of these guiding lights and that we inherited the understanding 
of the inseparable nature of Shari'a and Tasawwuf from them. 

Shari'a &TarIqa 

Thus, the understanding of the oneness of Shari'a and Tasawwuf was em- 
bedded in me from childhood and became an indelible part of my nature. 
It is a rule that whatever makes its mark during childhood is like 'carving 
on a stone.' Though most people have never witnessed a lion tearing the 
flesh of its prey or a snake when it bites, no one can remove the fear and 
terror associated with such thoughts as they are embedded from childhood. 
During my student years when I was studying Mishkdt al-Masablh, I 
read the famous hadith of Jibra'll *yE. He came to the Blessed Prophet j§& to 
teach mankind the basics of Din. After Iman and Islam we read: 

t\y Ciiio «Ul Jui j I J& jlL^fl U 

"What is ihsan?" 

The Blessed Prophet j& replied, 

"To worship Allah ^ as if you see him." 20 

This is the essence of Tasawwuf and Suluk. Both these [Tasawwuf and 
Suluk] and any other name given to this blessed science all come under the 
fold of ihsan. Then, as I continued studying different books of ahadlth, I 
became so convinced of the inseparable nature of Shari'a and Tasawwuf 
that if I heard anything against it, I considered it ignorance and indiffer- 
ence towards the subject. Likewise, if I ever heard anything against the 
pure and pristine Shari'a, which is derived from the Quran; the Sunna of 
the Blessed Prophet j§&, which is the most authoritative exposition of the 
Quran; and then fiqh [Islamic jurisprudence], which is the pith of both the 
Quran and Sunna, I disregarded it and thought it unworthy of my time. 

When I heard some people, ignorant in matters of Din, say, "What- 
ever immediate meaning we understand from the Qur'an is the true 
meaning, there is no need for all these exegeses [tajaslr]," I thought it 
insane. If it was truly that easy to deduce meanings from the Qur'an, 
then what was the need to send a prophet of Allah Jgs? The Qur'an could 
have been hung from the Ka'ba and people could have taken whatever 
meaning they understood from it. One of the main reasons for sending 
prophets was that they embodied the meaning of their revealed books 
and demonstrated it in their practical life. Through them, the Din was 
given a perfect complete form and became a 'way of life.' 


In this regard, it is Allah 0z's great blessing upon me that I never doubt- 
ed any of the injunctions or rulings of the Shari'a. I had gained insight 
[basira] into the rules and matters of Shari'a in a way that left no room 
for doubt. This is because the Blessed Prophet j§j came to this world to 
give the Shari'a a practical shape. Therefore, he was made to perform cer- 
tain acts which fulfilled the objective [of putting the Shari'a in a practical 
shape] without relegating his status as a prophet of Allah jgj. 

For example, the Blessed Prophet §k and his Companions j5§t, once 
missed Fajr while on a journey [this is in juxtaposition to the lives of many 
of the followers of the Blessed Prophet Jffe who succeeded them and who 
could not sleep after two in the morning]. The hadith masters [muhad- 
dithun] disagree as to whether the Blessed Prophet j§& missed Fajr once or 
more than once. This is mentioned in detail in Aujaz al-Masdlik. My own 
opinion is that it occurred on three different occasions. 

There is an important lesson of Tasawwuf in this incident. The Blessed 
Prophet j§& was not in the habit of asking who was going to wake him for 
salat. It is narrated in Bukhdrl that the Companions gfe, requested, "O 
Blessed Prophet H>, rest for a while." The Blessed Prophet j§s. replied, "I 
fear that Fajr will be missed," but Sayyiduna Bilal J^ assured him, "I will 
wake you up." 

This incident raises two issues of Tasawwuf. Firstly, that the 
Blessed Prophet j§i feared he would miss Fajr as Arab custom was to 
travel in the first part of the night and rest in the last. Why did the 
Blessed Prophet j§j say, "I fear Fajr will be missed?" This proves that 
the spiritual mentors are sometimes forewarned of events before they 
transpire or feel when something is amiss. Secondly, that Sayyiduna 
Bilal jjffc said, "I will wake you up." In Aujaz, it says that this incident 
was a stern message to Sayyiduna Bilal ^ for saying "I will wake you 
up." When the Blessed Prophet j§j felt they would not wake up for Fajr, 
his fear materialized through Sayyiduna Bilal's ^ assurance, "I will 
wake you up." 21 

But this raises the objection that if the stopover [lailat al-ta'ris] 
happened several times [i.e. on different journeys], as is the opinion of 
many scholars, then this statement of Sayyiduna Bilal t§^ could only have 
been said at the most on one occasion. The answer to this is that his state- 
ment relates to one occasion only. As for the other occasions, the reasons 
behind the Blessed Prophet j& missing Fajr on them were different. 

Shari'a &TarIqa 

Likewise, never did an objection enter my heart about the Blessed 
Prophet j§* forgetting in his salat since he himself said, 

I do not forget but am made to forget in order to show the way." 

This essentially means, "I am to teach you the rulings related to when 
you forget in your salat and the rulings about the 'prostration of forgetful- 
ness' [sajdat al-sahw]." This hadith has been explained in detail in Aujaz 
[1/217] under the chapter, 'What to Do When One is Mistaken in Salat.' 


Likewise, some Companions j5§t, felt no guilt at the time of committing 
major sins, whereas, the great spiritual masters [masha'ikh] could not 
even imagine committing such sins. Though the greatest of spiritual mas- 
ters cannot reach the level of the lowest ranking of the Companions tif^., 
the narrations which mention the sins of the Companions ojt did not in- 
cite me to object against them. It was the blessed company of my elders and 
also the study of ahadlth that preserved my faith in the Companions jSgt. 
I believed that whatever sins the Companions gfc, committed, were des- 
tined for them and that they were destined to commit sins in order to 
perfect the Din of Allah 0*. These blessed souls surrendered their whole 
lives in the path of Allah 0p as if to say, "Perfect the pure Shari'a. We are 
willing to be stoned, have our hands cut off, and throw ourselves in the 
way of anything to fulfill this noble cause." In my view the aya: 

Then Allah Jg» will replace the evils of such people by good deeds 1 * 

and the hadith of repentance in which it is narrated that Allah 0$ will say 
[on the Day of Judgment], "convert every bad deed into a good deed," is 
about them. 



Abu Dharr Jj. narrates that the Blessed Prophet §fr said, "A man will 
be brought before Allah £&> on the Day of Judgment [this hadith does not 
refer to a specific individual but to a class of people who will all be dealt 
with in the same manner. This is confirmed in another hadith where we 
find the word 'people' [fids] used instead of the word 'man' [rajuf]]. The 
angels will be ordered to read out to him his small sins without mention- 
ing his major sins. He will be informed that he committed such and such 
sin on such and such day and this and that sin on such and such day. 
In this way, he will be forced to admit all his [minor] sins. In his heart, 
though, he is more worried about his major sins being revealed. Allah 0i 
will then say, 'Change all his sins to good deeds.' At that moment, he will 
say, 'O my Lord, but I have others sins I do not see here.'" 24 

Sayyiduna Abu Dharr £§, says, "I saw the Blessed Prophet j§& smiling, 
the front of his beautiful teeth showing, when he narrated this part of 
the hadith." 25 

In another hadith, Sayyiduna Abu Huraira ^ narrates that the Blessed 
Prophet j§& said, "On the Day of Judgment, some people will wish they had 
committed many sins in this world." The Companions g%. asked, "Who 
are these people?" "They are the people whose sins will be converted into 
good deeds," he replied. 26 

We should remember that the conversion of sins to good deeds on the 
Day of Judgment is like the example of a president granting clemency to a 
criminal. Though he has the power to overrule an order of execution [even 
if the murderer is being led to the death chamber at the time], no one else 
thinks of committing the same crime and hoping for clemency from the 
president. However, the Companions u§t are an exception to this rule; I 
have full faith in that all the Companions £§fe will be granted forgiveness 
only because the ahadlth which narrate their excellence and greatness in 
Din prove that they are most deserving of it. 


Once, Sayyiduna Ma'iz J^ committed adultery. He came to the Blessed 
Prophet j§& and said, "O Blessed Prophet j§i, purify me." The Blessed 
Prophet $k said, "Go ask for forgiveness and repent to Allah $&." He 
walked a short distance, was overwhelmed with guilt, and returned to the 
Blessed Prophet Jp and asked again to be purified. The Blessed Prophet j§* 
replied as before. 

Shari'a &TarIqa 

In this manner, the Blessed Prophet j§fe advised him to repent and beg 
for forgiveness three times. On the fourth time, the Blessed Prophet j§j 
ordered according to the rule of Shari'a that he be stoned to death. After 
his execution, two Companions o^. said, "Allah 0i hid his sins, but he 
revealed them and died like a dog." The Blessed Prophet j§& heard them 
but remained silent. After a short while they saw the carcass of a donkey; 
his stomach was bloated and his leg jutted upward. The Blessed Prophet Jp 
called out, "Where is so and so person [calling the two men he had heard 
previously]?" They said, "We are here." The Blessed Prophet j§& pointing 
towards the carcass said, "Eat from this carcass." 

"How can anyone eat from this?" they asked. The Blessed Prophet j§j 
retorted, "Your backbiting of your brother is worse than eating from this 
carcass. I swear by the One in whose hands is my life, he is swimming in 
the rivers of Paradise at this moment." 27 

Likewise, once a woman from the Ghamidl tribe came before the 
Blessed Prophet j§& with the same request. She said, "O Blessed Prophet j§&, 
please purify me." The Blessed Prophet Jp told her to return, repent, and 
beg for forgiveness from Allah 0*. She said, "O Blessed Prophet j§&, you 
want to turn me back as you did Maiz (§^, I swear by Allah $& I am 
pregnant by adultery." The Blessed Prophet Jl, responded, "You cannot 
be stoned until you deliver the child." When she delivered the child, she 
returned to the Blessed Prophet j§& and said, "O Blessed Prophet Jp, I 
have delivered the child, please purify me." He said, "Breastfeed the child 
until it is weaned." After she weaned the child, she returned holding the 
child in her hands. The child had a piece of bread in his hands. She 
said, "The child is now eating bread." The Blessed Prophet j§& ordered 
she be stoned to death. Sayyiduna Khalid ^ was amongst the stoners. 
When some blood spurted on his cheek, a curse came from his mouth. 
The Blessed Prophet §k chided him saying, "Do not say such things, her 
repentance is such that if a tax collector made such repentance it would 
have sufficed him." 28 

In a similar incident, Sayyiduna 'Umar (§^ said, "Are we to offer 
her funeral prayer even though she was an adulterous?" The Blessed 
Prophet sjjk replied, "She has made such repentance that if distributed 
amongst seventy men of Madina, it would suffice them all. What big- 
ger repentance can there be than that she gave her life?" 29 


In the books of hadith, one will find these kind of narrations in the chap- 
ters of criminal law [hudiid]. Is anyone amongst us as pious and God- 
fearing as the noble Companions (&., who upon the commission of one 
sin would became restless for retribution? Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn 
Mas'ud j$t said, "When a believer [mu'min] commits a sin he feels as if 
he is under a mountain and the mountain may fall upon him any minute. 
When a profligate [fajir] commits a sin he makes light of it as if a fly came 
to rest on his nose; he waves it off with his hand." 30 

Allah 0i is the Knower of the unseen. He is aware of the sins of man- 
kind and of the remorse and guilt that is born from the perpetration of 
these sins. This is precisely why He was pleased with the Companions ti& 
despite their sins, mentioning it repeatedly in the Quran: 

S* Vs" Til/ * , 

/ ~ 

a } st s ^ 

As for the first and foremost of the Emigrants [Muhajirln] and 
the Helpers [Ansar] and those who follow them in goodness, 

Allah ^0 is pleased with them and they are pleased with Allah $jfr, 
and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, 
where they will live forever. That is the supreme achievement.^ 

It says in Bay an al-Qur'an [with reference from al-Durr al-Manthur\ 
regarding 'and those who follow them in goodness': 

Ibn Zaid said, "This includes all the Muslims until the Day of 
Judgment who follow the Blessed Prophet j§i with ihsan. This is 
why criticizing the Companions £§t or the spiritual masters is use- 
less because they repented and were forgiven by Allah $&,. Thus, 
those who continue to criticize and chase after their faults [after 
reading this aya] are a forsaken people." 

Shari'a &Taeuqa 

In various ayas of the Quran, Allah 0t, mentions the repentance of 
the Companions figt., the promise of their entry into Paradise, etc. There- 
fore, it is foolhardy to make the mistake of criticizing the Companions figb 
for their sins. But what is even more foolish is when we use their ex- 
amples to justify our own sins because forgiveness of their sins is assured 
while ours is not. Thus, those who use the sins of the Companions jjgt 
to justify their own sins are calling for their own destruction. Allah 0z 
says in the Quran: 

jj jji p i ^_*3Iij \ j Ca^i rj 3j~*a fj^Ji^=*s u 

But Allah ^0 has endeared to you the Faith, and made it beauti- 
ful in your hearts, and made detestable to you the disbelief and 
sins and disobedience. Such people are rightly guided, as a grace 
from Allah 0i, and as a blessing. And Allah 0i is All-Knowing, 

In Bayan al- Quran, fusuq [sins] is translated as major sin and 'isyan 
[disobedience] as minor. This clearly proves that the Companions fi§k were 
forgiven for their major and minor sins. It also means that holding their 
sins against them and using their example to justify our own sins is dan- 
gerous to our faith. 

Durring the campaign of the conquest of Makka, Sayyiduna Hatib 
ibn Abl Balta'a J^ quietly informed Quraish of the Blessed Prophet's Jp 
plan to attack Makka in a letter [that was later intercepted]. Sayyiduna 
'Umar ^ said to the Blessed Prophet j§&, "O Blessed Prophet Jl,, give 
me permission to behead him." The Blessed Prophet Jp replied, "He is 
amongst the Companions ^ of the Battle of Badr. What do you know, 
maybe Allah 0i said to the Companions tig^. of Badr, 'You are forgiven, go 
and do whatever you wish.'" 33 



Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyya writes in al-'Aqidat al-Wasitiyya: 

One of the fundamental rules of the Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jamaa [Peo- 
ple of the Prophetic Way and the Majority of Scholars] is that their 
hearts and tongues are pure about the Companions jSgfc. 

The Blessed Prophet J§i said, "Never criticize my 
Companions jj§fc. I swear by He in whose hands is my life, any one 
of you spending gold equal to Mount 'Uhud in the path of Allah J^, 
will not equal one mudd [1.7 lbs] or even a half a mudd of gold they 
spent in the path of Allah $8*." The Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jamaa 
accepts whatever the Quran, Sunna, and consensus say about the 
Companions (&.. Allah 0i said to the Companions ti^. of Badr, "Go 
do whatever you wish. I have forgiven you." We accept this and be- 
lieve that all the Companions 2§t who took the bai'a of Hudaibiya 
will not enter into the Hellfire [as narrated in the ahadith]. Allah 0i 
is pleased with them and they are pleased with Allah Jig*. Approxi- 
mately fourteen hundred Companions £§t took bai'a at Hudaibiya. 

The Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jamaa does not concern itself with the 
internal conflicts [mushdjarat] of the Companions ^t. As for the nar- 
rations which accuse the Companions £§t of wrongdoing, many of 
them are lies while others are fabrications. As for the mistakes men- 
tioned in authentic narrations, the Companions £§fc are excusable in 
this regard. They are either correct or mistaken in their ijtihdd. De- 
spite this, the Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama'a does not believe they were 
infallible [ma'sum]; as humans they were susceptible to sin. 

Though they were susceptible to sin, their excellence in Din was 
such that if they sinned, it would be forgiven, including the sins that 
are not forgiven for later people. This is because they possessed such 
virtue that erased their sins and which was not to be observed in the 
people after them. And even if they committed a sin, they surely 
repented for it or eliminated it through good deeds. Another reason 
is that they were the pioneers of Islam [which is sufficient reason to 
gain forgiveness] or that they have secured the intercession of the 
Blessed Prophet j0& since they were most worthy of it. A third rea- 
son is that persecution and poverty and many other such hardships 
wiped out their sins. 

Shari'a &Taeuqa 

All the above reasons relate to those sins about which it is 
known that they committed. As for the mistakes in their ijtihad, 
it is clear that if they were correct, they will earn two rewards, 
and if they were mistaken, they will still gain one reward while 
the mistake will be forgiven [as is true for all the mujtahids ca- 
pable of independent juridical reasoning]. 34 Thus, the objections 
raised against them do not compare to their virtues and accom- 
plishments, their noble attributes, their strong faith in Allah $fc 
and his Blessed Prophet jfc, their struggle in the path of Allah Jgj, 
their migration, their unflinching support of the Blessed 
Prophet |§s., their greatness of knowledge, and their righteous 
deeds. Those who study the biographies of the Companions $|t 
with clear insight and knowledge, recognizing the beautiful qual- 
ities Allah 0i granted them, will know they hold the highest sta- 
tion after the prophets of Allah 0i. There will be none like them 
before or after them. They are the best of the chosen ones from 
this community. 35 

Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyya spoke the truth about the 
Companions a^.. Allah 0i praises them repeatedly in the Qur'an 
and many ayas were revealed that prove the forgiveness of the 
Companions (g^. for all their sins. Allah 0* says in the Qur'an: 

jjJ^>a Vj j*-$\ ,j^> [V OJr^ -+-&? iV OMfXb t/"\"<A\ \j*j? tV^y 

V w ^ ., ^ w^ v w^ 

jj>e>jt«jl .> » liUjlj <~*&> ftJ* Oy iYj <ww<t>- 

[andfai' (the spoils that are captured without war) is for those who 
established themselves in the homeland (of Madind)] and in faith 
before the former ones [who emigrated to Madina], who have love 
for those who emigrated to them, and do not feel in their hearts 
any ambition for what is given to the former ones [from fai'] and 
give preference [to them] over themselves, even though they are in 
poverty. And those who are saved from the greed of their hearts are 
the successful? 13 


In another aya, He says: 

> > y <■ 

- l^Vi l^ii /^ (j/->^ ^ t>- ^i^iV^ ^; ILrf >^x p \j£=N 

s* *->" •• ^ ^ X" ^ ^ ^ - 

So, £/wj-<? w/w emigrated, and were expelled from their homes, and 
were tortured in My way, and fought, and were killed, I shall 
certainly write off their evil deeds, and shall certainly admit them 
into gardens beneath which rivers flow, as a reward from Allah 0*. 
It is Allah 0i with whom lies the beauty of the reward? 7 

Many ayas similar to the one above inform about the forgiveness of the 
Companions aj^. for all their sins. In this aya, Allah jjftfr, says, "I will surely 
forgive them for all their sins," but as the Urdu saying goes, Mudda'i sust 
gawd chust' (the witness seeks justice while the plaintiff has withdrawn 
his claim). The foolish ones amongst us still relish finding faults in the 
Companions a^, saying, "They were sinful, they were this and that..." and 
other such statements. 


The Blessed Prophet j§& said, "Allah $& says, 'I declare war on whoever 
makes my friend [wall] his enemy'" 38 Moreover, the Blessed Prophet j§s. said: 

"Fear Allah Jg*, fear Allah 0t, regarding my Companions i$t. Do 
not make them the target of your objections. Whosoever loves my 
Companions ajt, loves them because he loves me, and whosoever 
hates them, hates them because he hates me. Whosoever hurts my 
Companions dft hurts me, and whosoever hurts me hurts Allah Jiga, 
and whosoever hurts Allah 0i, the time is near when he will be in 
the clutch of Allah Jfe." 39 


Sharj'a &TarIqa 
Dhahabl says: 

Only those who have read the biographies of the Companions 
will know their lofty status; their progression in Din; their struggle 
against the disbelievers [kuffar]; their propagation of the Din; their 
declaration of Islam and raising the banner of Allah .Jgs and his 
Blessed Prophet jS>; and their knowledge of the obligatory acts and 
the Sunnas of the Blessed Prophet j§& within his lifetime and after 
his demise. If they had not lived, the fundamental and ancillary 
sciences would not have reached us. Without the Companions j^t 
we would be ignorant of the obligatory acts and the Sunnas, 
and we would have no knowledge of the ahadith of the Blessed 
Prophet j§i and the details of his life. Therefore, whosoever deni- 
grates their status leaves the folds of Islam and is deviated from the 
path of the Muslims. When one denigrates them, it is because of 
the hatred he harbors in his heart and the grudge that is created 
by his condemnation of the Companions jj&. This denigration is 
a sign that he rejects the ayas which extoll their high status. It 
is also a sign that he rejects the love the Blessed Prophet Jl, had 
for the Companions fi§t and the the Blessed Prophet's j§S> praise 
and mention of their lofty status in the ahadith. Another reason a 
denigrator leaves the folds of Islam is because the Companions (S§t 
are the most reliable and respected narrators of the narrations of 
the Blessed Prophet jfk. Denigration of the narrator is necessar- 
ily denigration of the one being narrated from. These words can 
only be of benefit for the one who thinks, tries to understand, 
and whose belief is not darkened by hypocrisy and heresy. Every- 
thing the Blessed Prophet J§& said in praise of the Companions 
in the ahadith should suffice for anyone. For example, Anas jjj^ 
narrates that some Companions £§t complained to the Blessed 
Prophet jfc, "People speak ill about us," to which the Blessed 
Prophet j§& replied, "The curse of Allah 0i, his angels, and all of 
mankind is upon he who speaks ill about my Companions ^t." 4 ° 
In another place, Anas j&. narrates that the Blessed Prophet j& said, 
"Allah J& chose me and chose the Companions ^t for me, and 
made them friends, brothers, and relations to me. In the future, a 
people will come who will criticize and denigrate them. Do not eat 
or drink with them, do not marry them, do not pray with them, 
and do not pray the funeral prayer upon them." 41 



Dhahabl narrates many other similar narrations in his book Kitab al- 
Kaba'ir and quotes many scholars as saying that those who blaspheme the 
Companions ujt, find fault in them, publicize their sins, or attribute any 
ignoble act or statement towards them is a hypocrite. 

This brief book cannot cover all of which has been said about those 
who criticize or publicize the mistakes and sins of the Companions ag,. 

The narrations about the gardens of Fadak* 2 never made me resent 
the Companions gfe.. I heard many objections, but always thought: "How 
could the daughter of the Blessed Prophet j§i — who spent her life grind- 
ing grain in a grinding mill and bruised her body carrying waterskins — 
become a slave of the material world and boycott the caliph Sayyiduna 
Abu Bakr $%. for a petty thing of this material world?" My heart was 
always pure about this issue and other such contentious issues that arose 
amongst the Companions oft; in my view it was simply a manifestation of 
the strength of their faith. 

How could an evil trait like greed take control of Sayyida Fatima %., 
Sayyiduna 'All J^, and Sayyiduna Abbas $± especially when their ser- 
vants and servants' servants were far from such ignoble traits? All the 
wars that took place between the Companions ti^. demonstrated the 
strength of their Din, knowledge, and belief. Regarding the Fadak issue, 
the disagreement between Sayyida Fatima %. and Sayyiduna Abu Bakr 
Siddique £§, was juridical which led the Companions afe. to disagree as 
to whether there is inheritance in the Blessed Prophet's J& wealth or 
not. Sayyiduna 'Umar ^ and Sayyiduna Abu Bakr ^ believed the ha- 
dith, "We do not leave inheritance" was a general rule that applied to all 
Muslims whereas Sayyiduna All J^, Sayyida Fatima t$t, and Sayyiduna 
Abbas J?t, believed it addressed a specific group of people. The matter 
of Fadak was a typical example of disagreement in interpretation of the 
hadith and knowledge of the Shari'a. Sayyida Fatima's £§t refusal to speak 
to Sayyiduna Abu Bakr ^ regarding the issue of the gardens of Fadak 
means that she never spoke to him again about these tracts of land. Hafiz 
ibn Hajar al-Asqalanl mentions this point in Fath al-Bari and narrates 
many ahadlth in support of this view. This is also the opinion of many 
respected commentators of hadith books. The opinion of this person [i.e. 
the author] is that it was not love of wealth, but adherence to the Shari'a 
which brought Fatima ($t to Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddique £§,, because 
she believed she had a legal right over that wealth. This is why she was 
angry and stopped talking to him. In my opinion, this was her firmness 
in Din; it also explains why Sayyiduna All ^ and Sayyiduna Abbas jjt 
both appealed their case in Sayyiduna 'Umar's ^ caliphate. They 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

hoped that he might decide in their favor though Sayyiduna 'Umar ^ 
agreed with Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddlque ^ in this matter and upheld 
his decision. 

Many essential aspects of the Din of Allah 0* were being demon- 
strated practically in the period of the first three caliphs. Once these is- 
sues came to a close and the period of the first three caliphs ended, the 
community needed to be instructed on another issue which was demon- 
strated in the time of the last caliph, Sayyiduna All -3^. This was the issue 
of 'opposition to the caliph.' To complete the Din, all these issues had 
to be fully demonstrated within the period of the rightly-guided caliphs 
[al-khulafa al-rashidun\. This is why it never occurred to me that maybe 
tribalism or love for wealth played some part in the internal conflicts of 
the Companions d|t. If anything, it only proved the greatness and strength 
of their Iman. They were firm on whatever they believed to be the truth 
and fought to defend it when forced to. This is why I always looked upon a 
person who interpreted the actions and statements of the Companions j5§k. 
as human weakness with indifference, as would anyone who has studied 
the books of hadith in some depth. 


I wrote extensively on the internal conflicts of the Companions 8§k in my 
book, al-'Itidal. The Battle of Jamal was a fierce war that took place be- 
tween Sayyiduna All ^ and the Mother of the Believers, A'isha %.. Over 
twenty-thousand men died in this battle. Before the war began and the 
two armies pitched into battle, Sayyiduna All -3^ walked to the front- 
lines and called out for Sayyiduna Zubair §^. When Sayyiduna Zubair -3^ 
stepped forward they both hugged and cried. Sayyiduna All J^. asked, 
"What forces you to come here and oppose me?" Sayyiduna Zubair ^ 
answered, "The blood of Sayyiduna 'Uthman j^." They both continued 
their discussion for a short time. 

This is the conduct of the commanders of two armies who were ready 
to fight and kill each other. After this, they fought and Sayyiduna All ;S± 
was victorius capturing many prisoners. Many of Sayyiduna All's & com- 
panions insisted these prisoners be put to death, but Sayyiduna All -3^ 
refused and took bai'a from them and forgave them. He allowed their 
wealth to be taken as spoils of war, but refused to enslave them [as was the 
custom of victorious armies]. Many soldiers objected: "If you are going to 



make their wealth spoils of war, then you should also enslave them." At first 
Sayyiduna 'All ^ remained quiet, but when they insisted, he said, "Tell me, 
who amongst you is willing to take your mother, Sayyida A'isha %, as your 
slave?" They replied, "Never! We ask for Allah 0z's forgiveness! We can't do 
that." Sayyiduna All (§^ said, "And I also ask Allah J& for His forgiveness." 

Do we ever keep the respect of the one who opposes us? Do we even 
respect those who oppose us in our personal issues as the Companions i$t 
respected those who opposed them in times of war? 

At the very end of this battle, Sayyida Aisha's %. camel fell. Sayyiduna 
All ^§3. immediately announced, "Watch out and make sure the Mother 
of the Believers is not hurt!" After this, Sayyiduna All ^ reached the 
camel of the Mother of the Believers and said, "O mother, are you injured 
or hurt? May Allah ggz forgive you for your mistake." Sayyida A'isha %. 
replied, "May Allah Jgs forgive you as well." 

This was the conduct of the Companions ^ toward their opponents 
and their respect for them. What would we do if our rivals came in our 
hands? Would we spare them their lives, their wealth, or their honor? 

The Battle of Siffin was the famous battle between Sayyiduna All Jj. 
and Sayyiduna Mu'awiya J^. Many historians narrate that the two 
armies fought throughout the day but once darkness fell the soldiers 
of one army walked out to the other, and participated in their funeral 
prayer and the burial of their dead. 43 And if one party was confused on 
some rulings of the Shari'a, they sent some of their men to learn the rul- 
ings from the other side. 44 

The emperor of the Byzantine Empire tried to exploit this division 
within the Muslims. When Sayyiduna Mu'awiya ^ found out, he sent a 
letter to the Byzantian emperor, "If you have made the decision to attack, 
then I swear by Allah 0* I will make peace with All {§^, and I will be in 
the front lines of the army that Sayyiduna All (§^ dispatches against you. 
We will destroy the city of Constantinople and uproot your government 
like carrots and turnips." 45 

The story behind this is that the Byzantine Emperor wrote a letter 
to Sayyiduna Mu'awiya $±. saying, "All ^ is a thorn in your side, I will 
dispatch an army to aid you." In reply, Sayyiduna Mu'awiya ^ said, "O 
Christian dog! You want to take advantage of our difference of opinion. 
Remember, if you squint your eyes in the direction of 'All J^., Mu'awiya^ 
will come as a soldier of All's J^. army to gouge out your eyes." Likewise, it 
is narrated that Sayyiduna Mu'awiya $±. said, "I swear by Allah $g», All J3. 
is better and greater than me, and I only oppose him because of the 
blood of Uthman Jj,. If he avenges the blood of 'Uthman $. I will be the 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

first of the people of Sham (Greater Syria) to take bai'a on his hands." 46 
Once, during the rule of Sayyiduna Mu'awiya j^, a man named Ibn 
Khaibari caught his wife with another man. Unable to control himself, 
he killed the adulterer. When the case came to Sayyiduna Mu'awiya $%., 
he did not know how to decide it. Due to the circumstances of the crime, 
he was hesitant about executing the murderer. Sayyiduna Mu'awiya ^ 
wrote to Sayyiduna Abu Musa al-Ash'ari ^ to ask the correct ruling on 
this issue from Sayyiduna 'All J^. 47 

Could we ever admit our ignorance in front of our rivals? Would we be 
able to inquire from them about something we did not know? The truth is 
that we would not trust our rivals in any situation. 48 

Many incidents of this kind occurred between Sayyiduna 'All ^ and 
Sayyiduna Mu'awiya ^ which have been compiled by Shaikh Yusuf 49 in 
his book Hayat al-Sahaba. Once, Darar ibn Damura KinanI [a staunch 
supporter of Sayyiduna All jy came to Sayyiduna Mu'awiya ^ after 
Sayyiduna All's J^ death. Sayyiduna Mu'awiya J^ said, "Describe All -3^ 
for me." He asked, "O Leader of the Believers, will you excuse me from 
this?" "I will not, you must describe him to me," replied Sayyiduna 
Mu'awiya ^. Then Darar spoke: 

If I must tell you then listen! Sayyiduna All t§^, I swear by 
Allah 0i, was an exalted person and very strong. He was straight- 
forward in whatever he said and ruled with justice. Knowledge 
streamed from his every angle, and intelligence poured forth from 
every part. The material world and its beauty and ornamentation 
disquieted him. I swear by Allah Jga, he cried copiously and pon- 
dered a lot. He would flip his palms while addressing himself. He 
liked simple cloth and preferred coarse food. I swear by Allah 0i, 
he lived amongst us as if he was one of us. When we visited him, he 
would sit us near him and whatever we asked, he would answer. De- 
spite his simplicity and mingling with us, we did not have the courage 
to speak to him because of our reverence and awe of him. And when 
he laughed, his teeth were like stringed pearls. He respected the pious 
and loved the poor. Never did a strong and rich man hope to win in his 
wrongdoing nor was a poor and weak man unhopeful of his fairness 
and his ability to mete out justice to him. I am Allah Jgja's witness that 
I saw him in the darkness of the night, in the niche [mihrdb], clutch- 
ing his beard, shaking as if he was bitten by a poisonous animal. He 
was crying like a mourning person and his voice echoes in my mind 



to this day when he said and kept on repeating, 'O my Lord, O my 
Lord' and humbled himself before Allah $&. Then he addressed the 
material world saying, 'You want to deceive me and you beautify your- 
self for me only. Get out of here, go and deceive someone else. Your 
sittings are wretched and your hardships are easy. O my, O my! The 
preparation for the Hereafter is little, the journey is long, and the path 
is dangerous.' 

By the time Darar finished, Sayyiduna Mu'awiya ^§t was weeping. His 
beard was soaked with tears and he repeatedly wiped them with his cuffs. 
Other people in the gathering wept and sobbed. Sayyiduna Mu'awiya $> 
finally said, "You spoke the truth, Abu al-Hasan was as you described him, 
may Allah 0t forgive him." Then he asked, "Darar! How much do you 
mourn the death of All ^?" Darar replied, "Like a mother whose only 
child is slaughtered in her lap. Her crying cannot stop and her grief can 
never diminish." After this, Darar returned. 

Ihsan is one of the foundations of the Din and therefore the Din can 
never be complete without it. This is why the Blessed Prophet Js said, "I 
am the source of wisdom and All jjt is its door," 5 ° meaning that Sayyid- 
una All jjt is the portal for all the different paths [lines of Tasawwuf] of 
Tasawwuf, Suluk and wisdom. Therefore, those who say Tasawwuf is 
taken from Hindu pundits and sadhus are truly ignorant of Din. Tasaw- 
wuf began in the time of the Blessed Prophet Js, and its continuation 
in a specific form reaches us through Sayyiduna All J^ [as will be men- 
tioned later]. This is a lengthy topic, but my health will not allow me to 
explain it to the fullest. 


One should not deduce from all that has been said that an objection 
never arose in my mind about a hadith. I had objections, but whenever 
I could not find an answer I blamed it on my own lack of knowledge. 

When my daughter was small and reading the Qd'ida Baghdddiyya [pri- 
mary booklet for learning Arabic] she would connect the letters and 
say, "Alif madda-A, nunfath-nd: Ana. Bd aliffath-bd nunfath-nd: Bdna," 
and likewise she went on tana, thdna, etc. Her mother then taught her: 
hamza madda-A, nun fath-nd: Ana. My daughter jumped up and said, 

"How could this be ana mother, it should be hamzdna" Her mother 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

quickly turned the matter over to me saying, "When your father comes, 
ask him." And when I was tired of explaining to her, I said, "You do 
not understand at this time, when you get older everything will be clear 
to you." 

Likewise, when I had an objection regarding a hadith, I remembered 
my answer to my daughter, "You do not understand at this time." 


i Deoband is located three hours west of the capital of India, New Delhi. 

2 The first date is Hijri and the second Gregorian. 

3 Many of the descendants of 'Umar {&., Abu Bakr (5|, 'Uthman jgt, and 'Ali Jt settled 
down in the Du Aba area. Many of the elders of Deoband are descendants of these 
noble families. 

4 Qutb al-Dln Ahmad Wall Allah ibn Abd al-Rahim Dehlawi (1702-3/1762) revived 
the science of ahadith in the Indian Subcontinent at a time when philosophy and 
logic were considered the acme of knowledge. Most Ahl al-Hadith, Deobandi, and 
many Barelwi schools trace their chain of transmission [sanad] back to him. 

He was a master in the Islamic sciences and wrote on many of them including 
the principles of exegesis [usul al-tafsir], the principles of hadith [usul al-hadith], 
Arabic literature [al-adab al-'arabt\, biographies of the narrators of hadith [asma 
al-rijdl], the principles of Din [usul al-Din], differences of the scholars [al-khildf], 
the underlying meanings ['ilm al-asrdr], political science [al-siydsat al-shar iyya] etc. 

He was a revivalist [mujaddid] but many, noting his depth of thought and 
knowledge, claim he was a mujtahid sl\so . His book on Tasawwuf, al-Qaul al-Jamil, 
and on ijtihad and taqlid, al-'Iqd al-Jid are quoted extensively by Shaikh Zakariyya 
in this book. [Saviours of the Islamic Spirit, Abu al-Hasan Ali Nadwi] 



Imdad Allah (1817-1899) was from the family of 'Umar ibn Khattab ^. He was the 
spiritual father of some of the greatest scholars whose names will appear repeatedly 
in Shari'a and Tarlqa. His spiritual family continues to thrive to this day through 
the traditional Deobandi schools scattered throughout the world and his successors 
[khulafd] who have worked in every field of Din from politics to commentaries of 
hadith books and from traditional schools to the propagation of Islam. His greatest 
contribution to Islam were his successors who dedicated their lives to Islam. The 
most well-known are Shaikh Qasim Nanautwi, Shaikh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, 
Shaikh Haider Hasan Khan, Shaikh Ya'qub Nanautwi, Shaikh Mahmud al-Hasan 
and Shaikh Ashraf All Thanwi. Their greatest accomplishment was their moderation 
in Shari'a and Tasawwuf and in giving each its rightful status in Islam. They were 
strict adherents of the Sunnas and eliminators of innovations. They used Tasawwuf 
to perfect their adherence to and propagation of the Shari'a and avoided the type 
of excessiveness [ghuluww] in Tasawwuf that gave rise to innovations. One cannot 
understand the depth of al-Haj Imdad Allah's spirituality until one understands the 
achievements of his successors. [See Ma'drif al-Akdbir, Ashraf All Thanwi] 

Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (1828/1905) was a descendant of Abu Ayyub Ansari ^. 
From childhood, he was a lover of the Sunnas, extremely pure-hearted and blessed 
with the certainty of faith [yaqln] that comes after years of spiritual exertions 
[mujdhaddt]. He says, "If the children were playing and it was time for Jumu'a, 
I would walk away from the game and say to the others, 'I heard my uncle say: 
Whoever misses Jumu'a more than three times is a hypocrite.'" He had great acumen 
and was extremely bright. As classmates, he and Shaikh Qasim [see below] read off 
the classical texts of al-Shams al-Bdzigha, Mir Zdhid, and Qddi like a memorizer 
of Qur'an reciting the Qur'an. If he and Shaikh Qasim ever disagreed and debated 
on any scholarly issue, the whole school [both students and teachers] would gather 
to be entertained by their incredible argumentations. Shaikh Mamluk All would 
say, "Rashid Ahmad's argument is stronger but Qasim escapes defeat because of 
his intellect." 

He made bai'a with al-Haj Imdad Allah and gained successorship [khildfa] after 
seven days. 

As a leading member of the rebellion against the British, he was arrested and 
imprisoned after the mutiny of 1857. Though he was later freed, he was placed under 
house arrest for a long time after. He also received a death warrant but was saved by 
the will of Allah. 

His lessons on the six famous ahadith books attracted students from all over 
the country. Though Shaikh Gangohi is not officially recognized as the founding 
father of Deoband, he was most certainly the think tank which lent the school its 
distinctive outlook, uncompromising adherence to the Shari'a and moderation in 

Below are three anecdotes of his taqwa: 

When a surgeon explained that he would not feel any discomfort from surgery 
[he had cataracts in both eyes] except that he would have to avoid prostration in a few 
salat, he replied, "I can't imagine missing prostration of even one salat." 

He once asked his spiritual student, Shaikh Yahya Kandhelwi [father of Shaikh 
Zakariyya], "Yahya, has so-and-so forgotten us [this person was vindictive of Shaikh 

Shari'a &TarIqa 

Gangohi and frequently published articles against the Shaikh]?" Shaikh Yahya 
replied, "Hadrat, he uses profane language against you and I cannot bear to bring 
such hate-filled words to my lips." He replied, "No, read to me whatever he writes 
[about me], if he has indeed found a fault, I will rectify it." 

After one of the conventions in Deoband, the Shaikh was thronged by people 
and could not make it in time for the opening takbir. After salat, he was extremely 
sad and distressed. Someone asked, "Is everything okay, Shaikh?" He replied, "I 
missed the opening takblr of salat after twenty-seven years." 

His four main successors were Shaikh Abd al-Rahim Raipuri, Shaikh Khalil 
Ahmad Saharanpuri, Shaikh Siddlq Ahmad Ambhetwi, and Shaikh al-Hind, 
Mahmud al-Hasan [who also gained successorship from al-Haj Imdad Allah]. [See 
Tadhkirat al-Rashid, Ashiq Ilahi Mirati] 

Qasim Nanautwi (1832/1880) was a descendant of Abu Bakr J^. and was born in 
Nanauta, a village in [Du Aba] U.P, India. He gained his basic education and 
memorized Qur'an in Nanauta, traveled to Delhi to study the Islamic sciences 
under Shaikh Mamluk Ali, and finally completed his study of hadith under 
the known hadith scholar, Shah Abd al-Ghani. He founded the well-known 
traditional Islamic school of Deoband with the purpose of rekindling the Islamic 
spirit which the British sought to destroy through their education system. As 
a visionary, his sole objective through Deoband and other such schools was to 
protect Muslims and Islam against western influence. He was a successor [khalifa] 
of al-Haj Imdad Allah and was thus one of the first fruits in the family tree of 
al-Haj Imdad Allah. His propensity for the science of Islamic doctrine ['Urn al- 
kalam] and debate led him to write great philosophical works like Tahdhir al-Nas 
and Ajwiba Arba'in. He narrowly escaped arrest and execution by the British after 
the mutiny of 1857. It is known that he hid for three days from the British and 
suddenly appeared on the fourth day. People begged him to hide but he remarked, 
"I only wished to fulfill the Sunna of the Blessed Prophet S [the Blessed Prophet J|s 
hid in the cave of Thaur for three days]." [See Sawanih Qdsmi, Manazir 
Ahsan Gilani] 

Muhammad Ismail Jhanjhahnwi (-1898) was from the family of Abu Bakr ^ and 
was Sheikh Zakariyyas paternal grandfather. He descended from one of the noblest 
families in the Du Aba area, known for its taqwa, struggles in the path of Allah, 
and a myriad of brilliant scholars who spread the knowledge of Din, uprooted the 
innovations, and devoted their lives to the cause of Islam. He was amongst those 
whose every supplication is accepted [mustajdb al-da'wat]. Shaikh Zakariyya 
narrated one of his incidents in chapter eight. He had three sons: the eldest, Shaikh 
Muhammad, then Shaikh Yahya [father of Shaikh Zakariyya], and his youngest son 
Shaikh Ilyas, founder of the Tablighi Jama a. [See Sirat Shaikh al-Hadith Maulana 
Muhammad Zakariyya, Abu al-Hasan Ali Nadwi] 

Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri (1852/1927) was a descendant of Abu Ayyub Ansari (St- 
He was a successor of Shaikh Gangohi and also the spiritual mentor of Shaikh 
Zakariyya. He is the author of Badhl al-Majhud, the eighteen-volume commentary 
of Abu Dawud. He made three supplications to Allah: 

"v* To complete Badhl al-Majhud before his death 



"v* To see a time of peace in Hijaz [Makka and Madina] and a time when 
it is governed by the Shari'a [as occurred in the beginning of the Sa'ud 

"v" To be buried by to the Blessed Prophet J§* 

By the grace of Allah, all his supplications were accepted. 

Two of his greatest successors were Shaikh Zakariyya, his father Shaikh Yahya 
and Shaikh Ilyas Dehlawi. [See Tadhkirat al-KhalU, Sayyid Muhammud Thani] 

Mahmud al-Hasan Deobandi (1851-1920) was the first student and teacher of Dar 
al-'Ulum Deoband. After completion of his studies, he spent much of his time 
serving Sheikh Qasim Nanautwi. On the advice of Sheikh Qasim Nanautwi, 
al-Haj Imdad Allah accepted Shaikh al-Hind in his bai'a, and then granted him 
successorship immediately after. In Deoband, he taught Tirmidhl, Mishkat al- 
Masablh, and Hidaya. 

Shaikh al-Hind became known primarily for his struggle to liberate the Indian 
subcontinent from the British. He was eventually caught and arrested in Hijaz, 
betrayed by the Hashimite governor of Makka and sent to Malta [where the British 
confined high-profile prisoners]. He was freed after three years and two months of 
confinement in Malta and died two years later in 1920. Moments before he passed 
away he pronounced the name of Allah loudly seven times, then turned toward his 
right in fulfillment of the Sunna and breathed his last. Rahima Allah Rahmatan 
Wasi'a. [See Hayat Shaikh al-Hind, Sayyid Asghar Hussain] 

Shah Abd al-Rahim Raipuri (1853/1919) was one of the highest-ranking successors of 
Shaikh Gangohi. He studied the Islamic sciences in Mazahir al-'Ulum Saharanpur 
under some of the greatest scholars of his time [e.g., Shaikh Ahmad Hasan Kanpuri 
[successor of Al-Haj Imdad Allah] and Shaikh Ahmad All Saharanpuri, student of 
the greatest hadith master, Shah Ishaq Dehlawi]. 

He was a master in Tasawwuf and loved recitation of Qur'an. He established 
centers for learning recitation of Qur'an [for children and adults] throughout his 
region and spent his night and days reciting Qur'an in the blessed month of Ramadan. 
Due to his devotion to Qur'an in Ramadan, visitors [thousands flocked to his sanctum 
in the month of Ramadan] were not allowed to meet him in the holy month. 

He was known for his clairvoyances. Shaikh Thanwi would say, "I have 
no problem sitting with Shaikh al-Hind, Mahmud al-Hasan and Shaikh Khalil 
Ahmad, but I can't sit in the gatherings of Shah Abd Rahim; who knows what is 
disclosed to him." 

Shaikh Abd al-Qadir [see foonote fourteen] was his main successor. 

Ashraf Ali Thanwi (1863/1943) was a descendant of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab ^. His 
mentor, al-Haj Imdad Allah, would say, "Ashraf Ali is my tongue; he articulates 
whatever descends in my heart." His disciplinary style of training seekers in 
adherence to the Shari'a and mentoring them in the path of Tasawwuf earned him 
the title 'Hakim al-Umma' [Reformer of the Umma\. Tarbiyat tf/-S<5/z'£ was a brilliant 
collection of his inspired treatments to the conditions of his spiritual students. This 
book demonstrated his uncanny ability to solve the spiritual problems of the seekers 
and prescribe treatments accordingly. Once, Sheikh Saharanpuri asked, "Whenever 
I go to Bahawalpur, the nawabs present me with monetary gifts. I don't know if I can 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

accept them as I feel a preinclination [ishraf] toward it." Shaikh Thanwi replied, "In 
a theoretical situation, if they had not presented you with anything and you became 
upset by it, then it is a sign of preinclination [ishraf], otherwise it is a whisper from 
Satan [waswasa]." 

Sheikh Thanwi's greatest contribution was reformation of the true Tasawwuf 
as inherited from the pious predecessors. Through his lectures [over sixty volumes] 
and writings, he systematically cleared away misunderstandings about Tasawwuf, 
uprooted the innovations, and clarified the essence and objectives of Tasawwuf. 

Over one thousand works are attributed to Sheikh Thanwi. Under his auspices, 
his nephew authored the monumental eighteen-volume work on Hanafi Fiqh, 'lid 
al-Sunan. Other famous books authored under his name include: Bahishtl Zewar 
[Heavenly Ornaments], on fiqh; Baydn al-Qur'an, an exegesis of the Qur'an; and 
Bawddir al-Nawddir, a treatise covering juridical and contemporary issues. Shaikh 
Zakariyya has drawn extensively from two of his books, al-Tasharruf and al- 
Takashshuf, in the chapters on Tasawwuf. [See Ashraf al-Sawdnih, Khawaja 'Aziz 
al-Hasan and also Hakim al-Umma, Abdal-Majid Daryabadi] 

13 Fadl al-Rahman Ganj Muradabadi (1793-1885) studied hadith under the two greatest 
hadith masters of his time, Shah Ishaq Dehlawi and Sha 'Abd al-Aziz Dehlawi. His 
passionate love ['ishq] for Allah and his Blessed Prophet J|> was felt by people who sat 
in his company. It is said that after meeting him once, people became enamored of 
him and could not take their eyes off of him. Due to his passionate love, he frequently 
came under the spells of his spiritual conditions. Once, someone recited the aya, 

And he [Ismail ;gE] was favorite to his Lord' [19:55]. He swooned and remained sick 
for two months after. Once he recited the aya, 'Qui in Kuntum Tuhibbuna AlldW and 
ordered, "Translate this aya." But before anyone could speak, he himself translated, 
"Walk our [the Blessed Prophet's J&] walk, then Allah will start loving you." Sombody 
once asked him, "How did you reach such a lofty position?" He replied, "From strict 
adherence to the way of the Blessed Prophet j&." He was known for his clairvoyances, 
moving poetry, and profound sayings. 

People came from afar to sit in his hadith sessions and take permission to 
transmit ahadith from his blessed chain. [See Tadhkira Hahrat Maulana Fadl al- 
Rahman Ganj Muradabadi, Abu al-Hasan All Nadwi] 

14 Shah Abd al-Aziz Dehlawi (1746-1824) was the eldest son of Shah Wall Allah 
Dehlawi. All the chains of hadith from narrators in the Indian subcontinent ascend 
through him to his father, Shah Wall Allah. He was talented in every field. He was a 
jurist, hadith master, and exegesist and was also outstanding in verse and prose and 
was a talented archer, horseman, and calligrapher. In Tasawwuf, he was a successor 
of his father and combined all the beautiful qualities of fortitude, kindness, humility, 
and love, etc. in his character. The Shiites made two attempts to poison and kill him 
after he wrote, Tuhfa Ithnd' Ashariyya, a comprehensive treatise on Shi'ism. It is said 
that his funeral prayer was prayed fifty-five times. 

15 A compilation of the sayings and anecdotes of the elders of Deoband, annotated by 
Shaikh Ashraf All Thanwi. 

16 A hadith textbook compiled by Shaikh Wall al-Din al-Khatib al-'Umri al-Tabrezi 
[circa 1340], taught in most traditional Islamic schools. 



if Sayyid Hussain Ahmad Madam (1879-1957) was a descendant of Hussain ^. He 
studied the Islamic sciences from both Shaikh al-Hind, Mahmud al-Hasan and 
Shaikh Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri in Deoband but was unable to complete his 
studies as his father decided to migrate to Madina. After completing his studies in 
Madina, he began to teach in the Sacred Precinct [al-Haram] and quickly became 
famous as the Shaikh of the Prophetic Precinct. Though, he made bai'a with 
Shaikh Gangohi, Shaikh Gangohi advised him [since he was migrating] to take 
his dhikr from al-Haj Imdad Allah. After some time, he received a letter from 
Shaikh Gangohi to come to Gangoh. A few months later he received successorship 
from Shaikh Gangohi. He later settled down in the subcontinent [though his 
family had emigrated to Madina] and explained why. He said, "There is more 
work of Din to be done in the subcontinent than in Hijaz [Makka and Madina]." 
He inherited the spirit of political struggle against the British from his teacher, 
Shaikh al-Hind, and spent a greater part of his life in politics. As a result, his life 
became an extraordinary example of determination, forbearance, and sacrifice. He 
spent as much time in jail as he did at home. In Ramadan, thousands of people 
came to stay in his company in retreat [i'tikdf]. Most of his life was spent against 
the British in jail or in conventions and in teaching hadith. Despite his busy life, he 
still found time to teach Bukhdri and other hadith books in Deoband. [See Sawanih 
Shaikh al-Islam, Najm al-Din Islahi] 

18 Shah Abd al-Qadir Raipuri (1878-1962) studied the Islamic sciences from the student 
of Shaikh Gangohi, Shaikh Muhammad Rafiq. One who reads his biography [see 
Hadrat MaulanaAbd al-Qadir Raipuri], is reminded of Imam Ghazali's spiritual 
odyssey and the yearning that made him restless for spiritual peace. It was Imam 
Ghazali's book al-Munqadh min al-Daldl that led him in search for a shaikh. He 
finally came to the sanctum of Shaikh Abd al-Rahim Raipuri and served him for 
fourteen years until his shaikh passed away. His spiritual exertions were reminiscent 
of the Sufis of the past. In the winter season, when it was biting cold and he could 
not afford a blanket, he would spend the whole night warming himself by chanting 
the dhikr of Allah £jgi loudly. 

He had a magnetic personality and was known for two amazing qualities: 
his broad-mindedness and his openheartedness. People came to him from every 
end: scholars, professionals, intellectuals, laymen, military, the rich and the poor, 
and the weak and the powerful. Two of his greatest successors were Shaikh Abu 
al-Hasan 'All Nadwi and Shaikh Manzur Nau'mani [author of Iranian Revolution 
and founder of al-Furqan Magazine]. [ See Hadrat Mauldnd 'Abd al-Qddir Raipuri, 
Abu al-Hasan 'All Nadwi] 

19 Ilyas Dehlawi (1886-1944) was Sheikh Zakariyyas paternal uncle. As a child, Shaikh 
Ilyas spent much of his time studying the Islamic sciences in Gangoh under the 
supervision of his older brother Shaikh Yahya and in the spiritual company of 
Shaikh Gangohi with whom he had taken bai'a. When Shaikh Yahya passed away 
the next year, he moved to Nizam al-Din, a small village on the outskirts of New 
Delhi [India]. When the unlettered people of Mewat passed through to find jobs in 
the city, he promised to pay them under the condition that they spent the day with 
him. He then taught them the basics of Din and spent whatever he had on them to 
the point where he and his family many times spent their nights in hunger. 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

When Shaikh Gangohi passed away he made bai'a with Shaikh Saharanpuri 
from whom he also gained successorship. He prayed voluntary prayers [nawafil] 
between Maghrib and 'Isha from childhood and never missed the Chishtiyya dhikr 
of the 'twelve tasbih' [see chapter thirteen] throughout his life. He said, "How can I 
ever quit 'twelve tasbih'when I achieved ihsan through its blessings." Shaikh al-Hind, 
Mahmud al-Hasan said of him, "Shaikh Ilyas reminds me of the Companions 4§t of 
the Blessed Prophet JsL" 

Once, he decided to settle down in Madina. When he went to visit the grave 
of the Blessed Prophet J|i, he was told to return to India and that Allah wished to 
take some work of Din from him. He spent many days anxious, thinking about 
how he would do the work of Din. He thought to himself, 'I cannot talk [he had 
a stutter], I am not a writer, and am weak and often remain sick.' Finally, Shaikh 
Sa'id Ahmad [older brother of Shaikh Hussain Ahmad Madani] advised him, "You 
weren't told to go start the work of Din but that the work of Din will be taken from 
you. Why do you worry, the One who has promised will take it Himself." This was 
the beginning of the tabllgh work. The work of tabllgh, as we see it today, is the 
fruit of his sincerity, sacrifice, and struggles. [See Sawanih Muhammud Yusuf, Sayyid 
Muhammud Thani] 

20 Bukhari, Su'al Jibra'il al-Nabiyy 

21 Bukhari, al-Adhan Ba'd Dhahab al-Waqt 

22 Muwatta', al-Amal fi al-Sahw 

23 25:70 

24 Muslim, Adna Ahl al-Jannat Manzilatan 

25 Shama'il, Ma Ja' fi Dihk 

26 Tafsir al-Alusi, 14/145 | Ibn Abi Hatim, Surat al-Furqdn 10/369 

27 Abu Dawud, Rajm Maidh ibn Malik 

28 Muslim, Man I'tarafa 'ala Nafsihi bi al-Zina 

29 Ibid 

30 Miskhat al-Masabih, al-Istighfar wa al-Tauba 

31 9:100 

32 49:7 

33 Bukhari, al-Jasus 

34 Bukhari, Ajr al-Hakim idha Ijtahada 

35 al-Aqidat al-Wasitiyya, p. 142 

36 59:8-9 

37 3^95 

38 Bukhari, al-Tawadu 

39 Tirmidhi, fi Man Sabba Ashab al-Nabiyy 



40 al-Mu'jim al-Ausat, Man Ismuhu Ahmad 

41 Kanz al-'Ummal, al-Bab al-Thalith fi Dhikr al-Sahaba wa Fadlihim 

42 Fadak — A plot of land the Blessed Prophet j§s owned in Khaibar which Sayyida 
Fatima ifi laid claim to in the caliphate of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddique £§$.. 

43 al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya 7/227 

44 Tarikh al-Khulafa 

45 Taj al-'Urus 7/208 

46 al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya 7/129 

47 Muwatta', al-Qada fi Man Wajada ma'a Imra'tihi Rajulan 

48 al-I'tidal, p. 230 

49 Yusuf Kandhelwi (1917-1965) was the son of Shaikh Ilyas Kandhelwi, founder of the 
Tablighi Jama'a. He continued where his father left off and through him, the work 
of tabligh became a global presence. 

He headed the movement for twenty-one years. He spoke for two hours every 
day after Fajr from the day he became head of the movement to the day he died. 
Then, throughout the day, he held sessions for the workers, dispatched groups 
across the country, and managed the affairs of a worldwide movement which had 
become, by the grace of Allah, one of the most effective tools for the propagation and 
preservation of Islam since the last few centuries. 

His book, Hayat al-Sahaba [three volumes], is originally in Arabic and has been 
translated into English and Urdu and is widely read throughout the Muslim world. 
[See Sawdnih Muhammud Yusuf, Sayyid Muhammud Thani] 

50 Tirmidhi, Manaqib Ali ibn Abi T^lib 


Chapter One 


Sayyidund Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud^, said, "If you seek knowledge then 
ponder into the meanings of the Quran." The Quran is a trove of sacred 
knowledge and guidance for all times, but to acquire this knowledge one 
must fulfill the necessary conditions and proprieties of the Quran. Unfor- 
tunately, we live in an era where once a person learns a bit of the Arabic lan- 
guage and memorizes the translation of the Quran, he thinks he has the right 
to make his own opinions regarding the Quran. The Blessed Prophet j§s. 
said, "Whosoever explains the Quran from his own opinion is wrong even 
if he is right." 1 

Modernists generally ignore the opinions and exegesis of the pious 
predecessors [al-salaf al-sdlihun] issuing fatwas that are based on their own 
whims. In our time, the modernist desires to embody all the greatest at- 
tributes in every field. If he can write simple Arabic, articulate himself in 
his native language, or deliver impromptu speeches, he sees himself the 
teacher of Junaid and Shibll in Tasawwuf and also a mujtahid in fiqh 
(Islamic jurisprudence). He introduces new ideas in the exegesis of the 
Quran without concern for the opinions of the pious predecessors or that 
his opinions contradict the ahadlth of the Blessed Prophet $§&. 

He is whimsical in matters of Din. He states his heart's desire no mat- 
ter how much it contradicts the Quran and the Sunna. Despite this, no 
one discredits him, protests his incompetence, or shows him his deviation. 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

If one gathers the courage to say, "This is against the teachings of the 
pious predecessors," he is immediately branded a sycophant of the pious 
predecessors. He is condemned as ultra-orthodox, anti-intellectual, and 
someone not attuned to the modern world. Conversely, if a person rejects 
the explanations of the pious predecessors and lays out his own views on 
matters of Din he is looked upon as an authority [muhaqqiq] in the Din. 


This is despite the fact that the exegetists [mufassirun] listed fifteen sci- 
ences that must be mastered before one can authoritatively interpret the 
Quran. These are: 

i Classical Arabic is how one learns the meaning of each word. 
Mujahid said, "It is not permissible for one who holds faith 
in Allah 0i and the Day of Judgment to speak on the Quran 
without learning classical Arabic." In this respect, it should be 
known that classical Arabic must be mastered in its entirety 
because one word may have various meanings. A person may 
only know two or three meanings to one word whereas the 
meaning of that same word in the Quran may be altogether 

2 The Science of Arabic Syntax ['Ilm al-Nahw] is important be- 
cause any change in the diacritical marks affects the meaning, 
and understanding the diacritical marks depends on the sci- 
ence of Arabic Syntax. 

3 The Science of Arabic Morphology ['Ilm al-Sarf is impor- 
tant because changes in the conjugations of nouns and verbs 
change the meaning. Ibn Faris said, "A person who misses out 
on Arabic morphology has missed out on a lot." Zamakhsharl 
writes in 'Ujubat al-Tafsir that, 

One man recited the aya: 

* » 

y // 

[Think of] the day when We will call every people with their 
books of deeds* 


The Holy Qur'an 

Because of his ignorance of Arabic morphology, he mistrans- 
lated the aya as: 

[Think of] the day when We will call every people by their 

He thought the word imam, which is singular, was the plu- 
ral of umm [mother]. Had he known morphology he would 
know that imam is not the plural of umm. 

The Science of Arabic Etymology ['Ilm al-Ishtiqaq] should be 
learned because sometimes one word derives from two root 
words, the meaning of each root word being different. This 
science explains the reciprocal relation and radical composi- 
tion between the root and derived word. For example, mash 
derives from the root word masah which means 'to feel and 
touch something with a wet hand,' but also derives from the 
root word masiha which means 'to measure.' 

Arabic Semantics ['Ilm al-Ma'anl] is the science which teaches 
about phrase construction and its implications on meaning. 

The Science of Expression [Ilm al-Bayan] is the science by 
which one learns the similes, metaphors, metonymies, evi- 
dent [zuhur] and hidden meanings [khafi] of the Arabic 

The Science of Rhetoric [Ilm al-Badi'] is the science 
through which one learns to interpret sentences which re- 
veal the beauty and eloquence of the spoken and written 
word. The above mentioned three sciences are categorized 
as the Science of Eloquence [Ilm al-Balagha]. It is one of the 
most indispensable tools for the exegete because he is able 
to reveal the miraculous nature of the Qur'an through these 
three sciences. 

The Science of Arabic Pronunciation ['Ilm al-Qira'a] is im- 
portant because one reading [qira'a] of the Qur'an may differ 
in meaning from another, and one learns to favor one reading 
over another based on the difference in the meanings. 

The Science of Islamic Doctrine [Ilm al-'Aqaid] is important 
because we cannot attribute the literal meaning of certain 
ayas to Allah 0z. In this case, one will be required to interpret 
the aya, as in the aya, Allah diss's hand is over their hand.' 3 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

io The Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence [Usui al-Fiqh] are 
important so one understands the methodology of legal deri- 
vation and interpretation. 

ii The Science of Circumstances of Revelation [Asbab al- 
Nuziil] is the field by which one learns the circumstances 
in which an aya is revealed. It is an important science be- 
cause the meaning of the aya is more clearly understood 
once the circumstances in which it was revealed is known. 
Sometimes, the meaning of an aya is wholly dependent on 
its historical background. 

12 The Science of Abrogated and Abrogating Ayas ['Ilm al-Naskh] 
is important because abrogated rulings must be differentiated 
from the applied rulings. 

13 Islamic Jurisprudence is important because one cannot gain 
an overview of any issue until he has understood its particulars. 

14 The Science of Ahadlth ['Ilm al-Hadith] is important because 
the ahadlth explain general [mujmal] ayas. 

15 The Endowed Knowledge [al-'Ilm al-Ladum] which Allah 0* 
grants to his closest servants. They are the servants indicated 
in the hadith: "Allah 0z will grant one who acts upon what- 
ever he knows from a knowledge he never knew." 4 


The authorities on the principles of fiqh [usuliyyuri\ write that to follow the 
Shari'a, one must have knowledge of the four foundations upon which the 
Shari'a rests. They are: 

1 Quran 

2 Ahadlth 

3 [Scholarly] Consensus [Ijma] 

4 Analogical Deduction [Qiyas] by which one derives rulings 
from the above three. 


The Holy Qur'an 


Then, to act in accordance with the Qur'an one must know four things: 

I The words of the Qur'an [nazm al-Qur'dn], their conjugations 
and root words. They are of four types: 

i The general [amm] 

2 The specific [khds] 

3 The homonym [mushtarak] 

4 The interpreted meaning [mu'awwal] 

II The methodology Allah $$i uses to present his message in the 
Qur'an [wujuh-al-baydn]. This is also of four types: 

i The manifest [zdhir] 

z The second type of manifest [nass] 

3 The unequivocal [mufassar] 

4 The transparent [muhkam] 

III Then, these four types are contrasted with four other types: 
i The obscure [khafl] 

2 The difficult [mushkif] 

3 The ambivalent [mujmal] 

4 The intricate [mutashdbih] 

IV Knowledge of the application of the words of the Qur'an 
[nazm al-Qur'dn]. This is also of four types: 

i The literal [haqlqi] 

2 The metaphorical [majdz] 

3 The plain [sarlh] 

4 The allusive [kindya] 

V Then, methodology of understanding the meanings of the 
Qur'an. This is also of four types: 

i The explicit meaning [' ibdrat al-nass] 

2 The allusive meaning [ishdrat al-nass] 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

3 The inferred meaning [dalalat al-nass] 

4 The required meaning [iqtida' al-nass] s 

After all of this, there is one more category that encompasses all 
the above. This category is also of four types: 

i Sources of Derivation [ma'khadh al-ishtiqaq] is knowl- 
edge of the sources from which the derivation is made. 

2 Knowledge of the terminological concepts of the sources 
of derivation. 

3 Knowledge of the sequence of the sources of derivation. 

4 Knowledge of the rulings derived from the sources of 


It is important to know when an order [amr] indicates obligation, permis- 
sibility, desirability, and when it is merely for repetition. In the Quran, an 
order may require immediate fulfillment of the order [add] or sometimes 
belated fulfillment [qadd] while at other times vice versa. Furthermore, an 
order can be general or restricted. A restricted order is of four types. One 
will find the details of this in the books on the subject of the principles of 
Islamic Jurisprudence [usill al-fiqh]. 6 

Mu'adh ibn Jabal (§i, said in a hadith of Abu Dawud. 

After you, the times of tribulation [fitan] will appear; there will be 
an abundance of wealth and the Quran will be opened by everyone: 
a believer, hypocrite, a man, a woman, old and young, slaves and 
freemen will all read it. Then one amongst them will say, 'Why don't 
people follow me though I am learned in the Qur'an? They will not 
follow me until I bring something new.' Mu'adh $. then said, 'Save 
yourself from the innovations [bid'a] because every innovation will 
be a deviation.' 7 

According to the above mentioned hadith, those who make grandiose 
claims about spreading the message of the Qur'an around the world are 
deviant people. Translating the Qur'an for the blessing of translation is 


The Holy Qur'an 

good. However, to derive rulings without sound knowledge of the differ- 
ent sciences [as quoted above] is forbidden. Rulings can only be derived 
when one gains complete knowledge of those sciences which are necessary 
for deriving rulings from the Qur'an. In al-Durr al-Manthur, it is narrated 
from Ibn 'Abbas (§^ that he said of the aya: 


He gives wisdom to whom He wills} 

This is reference to knowledge of the Qur'an, knowledge of abrogat- 
ing and abrogated ayas, transparent [muhkam] and intricate [mutas- 
habih] ayas, the chronology of each aya, what is forbidden and what 
is permissible and knowledge of other matters of the same kind. 


i Abu Dawud, al-Kaldmfl Kitdb Allah 

2 17:71 

3 10:48 

4 Kanz al-'Ummal, al-Bdb al-Awwal fi al-Targhlb fi al-Hilm 

5 Please see appendix I for a more detailed explanation of fiqh terminology. 

6 Nur al-Anwdr 

7 Abu Dawud, Luzum al-Sunna 

8 2:269 


Chapter Two 


The authorities in the science of Islamic Law state that the same sciences 
of knowledge necessary for the Qur'an [as previously mentioned] are 
necessary for the ahadlth. As for the presumptive [zannl] ahadlth, 1 they 
require some additional sciences. 

Hafiz ibn Hajar al-Asqalanl writes in his book on the principles of 
hadith [usul al-hadlth], Nukhbat al-Fikr. 

A mass-transmitted report [mutawatir] is a hadith narrated by such 
a large multitude of people that one cannot imagine that they con- 
spired to forge it, and in which the number of narrators throughout 
the times was numerous. This type of hadith conveys sure knowl- 
edge and is equivalent to an aya of the Qur'an. 

A well-known report [masbbiir] is a hadith in which the number 
of narrators dwindled at some point [in the chain of transmission] 
and did not remain numerous. 

A rare report [aziz] is a hadith in which the number of narrators 
at some point in the chain of transmission is only two people. 

A solitary report [gbarib] is a hadith in which the number of 
narrators throughout the chain of transmission is only one person. 



The last two types of hadith ['aziz and gharib] are categorized 
as a singular chain of transmission [khabr wahid] some of which are 
accepted while others rejected. The rejection or acceptance of a sin- 
gular chain of transmission is based on a complete background check 
of each narrator. There are many types of solitary hadith [ghanb]. 
The solitariness may be in the beginning or end of the chain of trans- 
mission. The singular transmission is authentic if the narrator of the 
transmission is trustworthy in his memorization of the hadith. The 
transmission of the hadith must be continuous [it does not break 
anywhere through a missing narrator] and is not a hadith with a 
hidden defect [mu'allal] or a single authentic hadith which opposes a 
greater number of authentic ahadith [shadh]. The level of authentic- 
ity of the hadith varies depending on the level of opposition [shud- 
hudh] or hidden weakness ['ilia] found in the hadith. 

The highest level of authenticity in a hadith is sound in itself 
[sahih li dhatihi], then sound through corroboration [sahih li ghair- 
ihi], then thoroughly reliable in itself [hasan li dhatihi] and finally, 
reliable through corroboration [hasan li ghairihi]. Another aspect in 
the science of hadith is whether the hadith is munkar or marilf. If 
the hadith is stronger than the hadith it contradicts because of the 
strength of its number in the chain or the integrity of its narrators, it 
is a preserved hadith [mahfuz]. Then we must check if it is supported 
by corroborative hadith from the same Companion <£$&. with different 
chains of transmission [matabi'] or supportive ahadith from differ- 
ent Companions 34ft [shdhid] or not. The definition of these different 
types of ahadith should be known to measure the veracity of the ha- 
dith. If a contradiction between two ahadith can be reconciled they 
are reconcilable ahadith [mukhtalif al-hadith]. If the contradiction 
cannot be lifted but we know the chronology of the two hadith, then 
the first of the two ahadith will be the abrogated hadith [mansukh] 
and the second the abrogating hadith [nasikh]. If the chronology is 
unknown, we will favor one hadith over the other using the prin- 
ciples of preference [tarjih]. 

HazimI writes in his book Kitab al-I'tibdr that there are fifty prin- 
ciples of preference by which we ascertain which hadith is more accept- 
able. SuyutI in Tadrib al-Rawi writes that other scholars have mentioned 
more than a hundred tools of preference. Later, we will read a detailed 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

essay by Ibn Taimiyya in which he outlines ten reasons for rejecting a 
hadith. He then says: 

These reasons are apparent, though some ahadith are of the type that 
a prodigious scholar will see reason for us to not follow them without 
revealing the reason. This is because the plains of knowledge are 
vast and we cannot understand everything that was in the minds of 
these scholars. At times he presents his proof while at other times he 
may not. Even when he does present his proof, many times we hear 
his proof while at other times we do not. Even if his proof reaches 
us, sometimes we understand his proof and sometimes we do not. 2 

Hafiz ibn Hajar al-Asqalanl said, "We will not adopt any opinion if 
there is no reason to favor one hadith over the other." Sometimes a nar- 
ration is rejected because of a missing link between two narrators and 
sometimes because of questionable character in a narrator. A narration 
is incompletely transmitted [mursal] if the missing narrator is in the era 
of the Companions Jjjjfc.. It is a suspended hadith [mu'allaq] if the missing 
narrator appears from the other end of the chain [e.g., teacher of Imam 
Bukharl, Ibn Maja]. The hadith is discontinuous [munqati'] if the missing 
narrator is in the middle of the chain. If two or more than two narrators 
are missing, the hadith is straitened [mu'addal]. If the missing link is evi- 
dent, it is plainly discontinuous [munqati']; however, if it is hidden, it is 
disguised [mudallas]. 


Then there are ten reasons a narrator is declared unreliable. In order to use 
the ahadith as evidence, it is important to understand the principles of ha- 
dith criticism. We mentioned a few types of ahadith as examples. Besides 
these, Hafiz ibn Hajar al-Asqalanl mentioned: 

A Reversed Hadith [Maqlub] 

- A Disrupted Hadith [Mudtarib] 

- A Dot-Distorted Hadith [Musahhaf] 
A Vowel-Distorted Hadith [Muharraf] 

- Attribution of a Narration to the Blessed Prophet j§i [Marfu] 



- Attribution of a Narration to a Companion ^ [Mauqtif] 

- Attribution of a Narration to a First Successor [Maqtu] 

- An Authoritative Transmission [Musnad] 

— An Absolute High-ranking Transmission [al-'Aluww al-Mutlaq] 

- A Relatively High-ranking Transmission [al-'Aluww al-Nasabt] 

Then, within the last two types of hadith [the absolute and relative 
authoritative hadith] one must be learned in discussions on: 

— The Equal Transmission [al-Musdwdt] 

- The Handshake Transmission [Musdfaha] 

- A Descending Transmission [Nuziil] 

- A Contemporary Transmission [Aqrdn] 

— The Reciprocal Transmission [Mudabbaj] 

- Transmission of the Elders from the Juniors 

[Riwdyat al-Akdbir 'an al-Asdghir] 

— The Preceder and the Follower Transmission 

[Al-Sdbiq wa al-Ldhiq\ 

— The Faithful Transmission [Musalsal] 

— The Unified Transmission [Muttafiq] 

— The Differential Transmission [Muftariq] 

— The Concordant Transmission [Mu'talif] 

— The Discordant Transmission [Mukhtalif] 

- The Resembling Transmission [Mutashdbih] 3 

One cannot become a hadith master and deduce juridical rulings sim- 
ply by reading the translations of hadith books. As for the aforementioned 
discussions, Hafiz ibn Hajar al-Asqalanl himself writes that the principles 
of ahadlth cannot be condensed and that one must study the encyclopedic 
works [mutawwaldt] on this subject to gain a complete understanding of 
this science. Merely reading the translation of a hadith or reading a book 
on the the virtues of ahadlth is surely not enough. Becoming a master of 
hadith is a most arduous task. 

Likewise, reading the translation of the Quran does not give insight into 
the Quran until one learns all the necessary sciences related to the Quran. 
Otherwise, there is a large chance of making grave mistakes in the Quran. 
One deviant was of the habit that whenever he returned from the call of nature 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

he performed ablution [wudu] and prayed three units [raka'] of salat [witr]. 
Someone asked him, "What do you pray?" He said, "It says in the hadith: 

Is s 

'Whosoever attends the call of nature, should pray the three unit salat.' 4 

However, the meaning of this hadith is that whenever one attends the 
call of nature one should use an odd number [witr] of clods to purify him- 
self The mistake he made was to translate the word 'fa al-yutir as 'witr. ' 

Likewise, one man would not allow the water from his well to be 
channeled into the fields of another because the Blessed Prophet J|s said 
in the hadith: 

ojs- 9jj »*U & ±sA ,_yl~o 2 j 
'Your water should not feed the fields of another.' 5 

However, the meaning of this hadith is that when a woman, for ex- 
ample a slavegirl, is pregnant by one man and he sells her to another, the 
new owner should not have intercourse with her. The word 'ma" refers to 
semen and 'zarW to the woman's private parts. Ibn Jauzl narrates many 
more such examples in his book, Talbls al-Iblls. 

A hadith in Abu Dawud narrates that someone asked 'Imran ibn 
Husain j|, ; "You narrate many ahadlth that have no mention in the 
Qur'an?" He became angry and said, "Have you ever read anywhere that 
you must pay one dirham for every forty dirham in zakat, you must give 
this and that many goats when you own such and such number of goats in 
zakat, and this and that many camels if you own such and such number 
of camels in the Qur'an?" The man replied, "No." 'Imran ^ said, "Then, 
where did you get these rulings from? You learned them from us and we 
learned them from the Blessed Prophet J!*." 6 

Likewise he mentioned many other specific rulings on various issues 
besides zakat that are not mentioned in the Qur'an. This indicates that in 
order to understand the Qur'an, it is necessary to know the ahadlth. And 
to know both the Qur'an and ahadlth it is necessary to learn all the differ- 
ent sciences and fields of knowledge mentioned above. 



I would like to conclude this chapter with Imam Bukharl's quartet better 
known as the Rubayiat al-Bukhdri, which has already been mentioned 
in the introduction \muqaddama\ of Aujaz al-Masdlik and in my other 
book, Ikhtildf al-A'imma. It is reproduced here both from Ikhtildf al- 
A'imma and Aujaz: 

The hadith masters established the strictest rules for one who wishes to 
busy himself, gain insight into, and speak or write on the subject of the sci- 
ence of hadith. They also established rules to aid the student in his study 
of the ahadlth. Their rules and restrictions are more demanding of the 
teacher and the hadith master. Though this chapter has drawn on quite 
a while, it is an opportune time to relate the interesting story of Imam 
Bukhari. It is a story which shows us the hardships the pious predeces- 
sors expected one to overcome in order to gain knowledge of ahadlth. He 
himself was a person who struggled hard in this path as a student and who 
achieved the status of a hadith master in this field. 

Muhammad ibn Ahmad says, "When Walld ibn Ibrahim was dis- 
missed from his position as the judge [qddi] of Rai [now a suburb of Teh- 
ran], he moved to Bukhara. My teacher, Abu Ibrahim Khattall, took me to 
meet him. When we met him we requested that he narrate all the ahadlth 
he had heard from our spiritual mentors and elders. Walld said, 'I did not 
hear any narrations or any ahadlth.' My teacher was shocked. He asked, 
'You are such a great jurist [faqlb] and you say such a thing?' Walld then 
told his story; he said, 'When I reached adulthood and was eager to study 
the science of hadith I came to Imam Bukhari and explained my situation 
to him. He advised me and said, 'Listen, my son. Whenever you begin a 
subject you first learn its prerequisites. Make the intention to learn the 
subject once you have understood its prerequisites and objectives. Now 
listen! A man cannot be an accomplished scholar of hadith until he writes 
four things with four thing like four things with four things as four things 
in four time periods in four situations in four places on four things to four 
types of people for four reasons; and these quartets cannot be gained but 
with four things which must be with four other things. When all these 
are attained, then four things become easy upon him and he is put into 
hardship by four things. And when he is patient with these four things, 
Allah |gsj honors him with four things in the material world and four 
things in the Hereafter.' 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

1 said to him, 'May Allah 0z have mercy upon you. Please explain 
these quartets for me.' He said, "Of course, listen! The four things which 
one must write are: 

i The beautiful ahadlth of the Blessed Prophet |g> and his 

2 The sayings of the Companions ^ and the status of each 
Companion J^ 

3 The sayings of the First Successors, their caliber and who 
amongst them was reliable or unreliable 

4 Knowledge of all the narrators who narrated ahadlth and 
their background 

The history of the narrators must include four things: 

i Their biographies [asmd al-rijdl] 

2 Their agnomens [kunya] 

3 Where they settled and lived 

4 Their date of birth and date of death [to verify whether the 
narrator met the people whom he claimed to narrate from] 

These four things are as necessary as four things with four things: 

i Sermon [khutba] with praise and exaltation of Allah 0i [hamd 
and thand] 

2 To send blessings and salutations [saldt and saldm] with the 
names of prophets 

3 Bism Allah with a sura 

4 The opening takbir of salat [al-takblr al-tahrlma\ with salat 

And like four things: 

i The ahadlth with an unbroken transmission to the Blessed 
Prophet $k [musnad] 

2 The ahadlth transmitted by one of the First Successors to the 
Companions £§k from the Blessed Prophet j§& with the name 
of the Companion ^ omitted [mursal] 

3 Sayings of the Companions $fk [Mauqiif] 

4 Sayings of the First Successors [Maqtii'] 



These are four different branches in the science of hadith which can 
only be attained in four different periods: 

i Childhood 

2 Near adulthood 

3 After adulthood 

4 Before old age 

And the means of attaining these four branches in different situa- 
tions is: 

i In preoccupation 

2 In free time 

3 In poverty 

4 In affluence 

In essence, a person should be incessantly preoccupied with the attain- 
ment of these four branches, in four places: 

i In the mountains 

2 In the rivers 

3 In the cities 

4 In the rural areas and jungles 

In essence, a person should travel wherever a teacher [mu'allim] of ha- 
dith may be to learn the hadith from him on four things: 

i On the rocks 

2 On oysters 

3 On leather 

4 On bones 

In essence, he should learn from him on anything until he obtains 
paper and gets the opportunity to write on it. He should write on whatever 
is available to preserve the essence of knowledge. And he must learn this 
from four types of people: 

i One who is older than him 
2 Younger than him 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

3 Equal to him 

4 From the books of his father with the condition that he un- 
derstands his father's writing style 

In essence, he should learn from whoever he can. He should not hesi- 
tate, thinking it beneath him, to learn from his equal or someone younger 
than him. He should do all this with four intentions: 

i For the pleasure of Allah 0i [It is obligatory upon the servant 
to keep his Master happy] 

2 Acting upon all the knowledge that is in accordance with 
the Quran 

3 To transfer knowledge to students and earnest knowledge 

4 To keep the torch of guidance alight after putting it into writing 
And all of these things cannot be gained but with four things: 

i His efforts and toil 

2 The art of penmanship and writing 

3 Linguistics, by which he learns meanings and concepts of words 

4 Arabic morphology and syntax by which one can discern the 
correctness of words and sentences 

All of these four things are dependent on four things which are other- 
wise unattainable except by the mercy and gift of Allah 0z: 

i Health 

2 Ability 

3 Eagerness for knowledge 

4 Sharp memory 

And when all these are attained, four things become contemptible to 
him [due to his thirst for knowledge]: 

i Wife 

2 Children 

3 Wealth 

4 Home 


And then this person is tested by four things: 

i Enemies who rejoice at his misfortune 

2 Criticism of his friends 

3 Contempt of the ignorant 

4 Jealousy of the scholars 

And when a person is patient with these four things Allah 0i grants 
him four things in the material world and four things in the Hereafter. 
The four things of the material world are: 

i Respect and contentment \qana\ 

2 Dignity and the ability to inspire with certitude [yaqln] 

3 Sweetness of knowledge 

4 A long life 

The four things of the Hereafter are: 

i Intercession on behalf of whomever he wishes 

2 Shade under the throne of Allah 0z on the day when there 
will be no other shade 

3 Ability to give water from the basin [baud] of Kauthar to 
whomever he wishes 

4 Proximity to the prophet of Allah $& in the highest abode in 
Paradise [A'ld al-'Illiyyin] 

This is all, my son. I have summed up for you everything I heard in 
different gatherings from my elders. Now it is your choice whether you 
wish to busy yourself in the knowledge of ahadlth or not." 


Shari'a & TarIqa 


1 A presumptive hadith is a hadith which is not mass-transmitted [mutawatir] or well- 
known [mashhur] and only has one narrator per link in its chain of transmission. It is 
called presumptive because [though it may be an authentic hadith] it does not create 
certainty of knowledge like mass-transmitted and well-known ahadith. 

2 Raf al-Maldm, Hafiz Ibn Taimiyya 

3 Please see appendix II for a more detailed explanation of the hadith terminology 

4 Ibn Maja, al-Irtiyad li al-Gait wa al-Baul 

5 Abu Dawud, fi Wat' al-Sabaya 

6 Abu Dawud, ma Tajibu fi al-Zaka 


t . f\\ AW 

Chapter Three 


The most recognized definition of fiqh amongst the jurists is: 

Fiqh is knowledge of derivative rulings taken from in-depth evidenc- 
es of the Quran and Sunna. Imam Abu Hanifa said, 'Fiqh is knowl- 
edge [ma'rifa] of the self and that which is beneficial and harmful to 
it.' This a broad definition which includes everything from beliefs 
to all deeds related to the esoteric [spiritual] and exoteric [physical]. 

Succeeding scholars brought all the branches related to matters of 
belief under the umbrella of the Science of Doctrine ['Ilm al-Kalam], the 
branches related to spiritual rectification under the Science of Morals 
['Ilm al-Akhlaq] or Tasawwuf, and the branches related to exoteric deeds 
under fiqh. 

In the introduction of Kanz al-Daqaiq, 1 Shaikh I'zaz 'All narrates 
from Hawl Quddusi that fiqh linguistically means 'tafaqquti or 'to be 
aware of.' In the Shari'a, it refers to a special type of awareness that is 
distinct from the understanding gained from the meaning of the text [i.e., 
the Qur'an and Sunna] and its intimations, sense, and requirements. In 
another place, he writes that tafaqquh is a quality, an aptitude by which 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

one can discern the correct evidences from the Quran and the Sunna and 
by which one can sense what is intellectually more sound. 

The sources of fiqh are: the Quran, the authentic Sunna, [scholarly] 
consensus, and analogical deduction, which have already been cited from 
Niir al-Anwdr. Therefore, all the sciences and fields of knowledge required 
for understanding the Quran and Sunna are also required for the under- 
standing of fiqh. 

Shaikh Ashraf 'All Thanwl writes in his book al-Takashshuf, "Shari'a 
is the name of the complete and comprehensive collection of practical rul- 
ings." This definition is inclusive of all deeds, both esoteric and exoteric. 
The term fiqh was used in this sense amongst the earlier scholars [mutaqa- 
ddimiin\. For example, Imam Abu Flanlfa defined fiqh as: 

i^ >, 

"Fiqh is knowledge of the self and that which is beneficial 
and harmful to it." 

Then, fiqh became known amongst the later scholars [mut'akhkhirun] 
as knowledge of the exoteric deeds while Tasawwuf knowledge of 
the esoteric deeds. 2 Shaikh Thanwl makes this same point in Imdad 

Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha'ranl wrote a book called al-Mizan al-Kubrd. 
I enjoyed this book and read it repeatedly during my last years of study 
and the beginning of my teaching years. The main idea behind his 
book is that there is no disagreement between the mujtahids. Whatever 
is seen as disagreement is due to the difference in the times in which 
they lived. 

For example, Imam Abu Flanlfa negated raising the hands [rafa' al- 
yadain\ because of the condition of the Muslims in his time while Imam 
Shafi'l necessitated it according to his time. Imam Abu Flanlfa lived in 
the golden era and the meaning of raising the hands was "throwing the 
material world away behind one's back." In his time, salat was prayed 
with perfect concentration and once it began, the material world was 
removed for good. In the time of Imam Shafi'l, who was born the year 
Imam Abu Flanlfa passed away, the material world made its way back in 
the salat. This is why he ruled that the hands should be raised repeatedly 
during the salat to thow back the material world. Also, Imam ShafiTs 
view was that touching the private part broke the ablution. This ruling 



applied to the saintly scholars while the more liberal ruling, that it did 
not, was applicable to the general public. However, the Hanafls exercise 
caution in this regard and say that if the private part is touched then 
ablution should be performed to distance oneself from any disagreement 
between the four imams. 3 


1 A textbook on Hanafi fiqh 

2 al-Takashshuf, p 184 

3 al-Mlzan al-Kubra, p 130 


Chapter Four 


On the question of ijtihad, Mufti Shaft' writes in Jawahir al-Fiqh that 
the pious predecessors estabished a criterion for the mujtahid who is to 
be followed. Shah Wall Allah Dehlawl wrote in 'Iqd al-Jid, that the most 
precise definition of ijtihad understood from the scholars is, "to work 
arduously to yield derivative knowledge from specific sources." These 
specific sources are: 



[Scholarly] Consensus 

Analogical Deduction 


One of the conditions for one practicing ijtihad is that he should be well- 
versed in those areas of the Quran and Sunna from which rulings are 
derived. He should also be well-versed in the areas of [scholarly] consensus; 
the conditions for the correct use of analogical deduction; a broad and 



deep knowledge of Arabic linguisticsl; and the abrogated and abrogating 
ayas. He should also be learned in the biographies of the narrators. In ijti- 
had, knowledge of the science of Islamic doctrine and conventional fiqh 
is not necessary. The conditions of ijtihad are covered in the books on the 
principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. At this point, there is no harm in nar- 
rating the conditions Baghawl laid out for ijtihad. He said: 

"A mujtahid is a scholar who is proficient in five fields of knowledge: 

- Knowledge of the Qur'anic ayas 

- Knowledge of the ahadith of the Blessed Prophet Jp 

- Knowledge of the sayings of the pious predecessors; i.e., to 
know which rulings they disagreed upon and upon which 
they were unanimous 

- Knowledge of Arabic linguistics 

- Knowledge of analogical deduction, the knowledge by 
which one learns the method of deriving a ruling from the 
Quran and Sunna. In that case, a ruling should not be ex- 
plicit in the Qur'an and Sunna or [scholarly] consensus. If 
there is no derivation required due to the explicitness of the 
ruling in the Qur'an and Sunna, then such a person [who 
lays out an explicit ruling] is not by definition a mujtahid. 

Now, it is important for us to know how much of each of these fields 
of knowledge a mujtahid should have mastered. As for the Qur'an, he is 
required to know all that has already been mentioned in the chapter on 
the Qur'an and also the abrogated and abrogating ayas. And in the hadith 
he should know the sciences necessary for knowledge of hadith and also 
the ability to distinguish between authentic and weak hadith. It is also 
incumbent upon him to be fully versed in Arabic linguistics. This means 
that he should have an almost perfect knowledge of the words used in the 
ayas and ahadith on the commandments [abkam]. However, he need not 
necessarily have memorized and learned the whole vocabulary of classical 
Arabic. It is best that he busy himself in learning the language as much 
as is necessary for him to become familiar with the meaning and message 
of classical Arabic discourse. This is because the medium of the Shari'a 
is Arabic; therefore, the one who is uninformed in Arabic will not under- 
stand the underlying meanings of the sayings of the Blessed Prophet J|&. 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

He should also have learned the sayings of the Companions jSgk and 
First Successors regarding the commandments of Din. He should also 
have knowledge of the fatwas of the jurists in order to avoid deriving rul- 
ings that contradict their opinions and the decisions upon which there 
is consensus of the community. If and when a person is learned in these 
five fields of knowledge he will be considered a mujtahid, though it is 
not expected of him to have covered the infinitesimal aspects of each of 
these fields. However, if he is lacking in any one of them, he must follow 
someone else." 

Ibn Qudama Hanball writes in al-Mughnl: 1 

"There are six conditions for being a mujtahid. 

— Mastering knowledge of the Quran 

— Mastering knowledge of the ahadlth 

— Mastering knowledge of the [scholarly] consensus 

— Mastering knowledge of analogical deduction 

— Mastering knowledge of the differences of opinion 

— Mastering knowledge of classical Arabic linguistics 

For the Quran he must know two things; the general [amm] and 
the specific [kbass] [previously mentioned in the chapter on acting on the 
Quran]. In the ahadlth, it is not necessary for him to know every hadith, 
as in the ahadlth on Paradise and the Hellfire, but to know those ahadlth 
which pertain to the commandments of Din. All the sciences necessary 
for the Quran are also required for ahadlth. Besides this, there are dif- 
ferent types of ahadlth, such as the singularly transmitted ahadlth [ahad]. 
They must also know the rulings upon which the scholars unanimously 
agreed and upon which they disagreed. In analogical deduction, they must 
know its conditions and the different methods of derivation amongst other 
things. They should also be acquainted with Arabic linguistics in as much 
as is related to the aforementioned fields." 

Hafiz Ibn Qayyim writes in I'lam al-Muwaqqi'W: 

Khatlb quoted Imam Shafi'l in his book al-Faqi wa al-Mutafaqqih, 
as saying that it is not permissible for anyone to give fatwa on any 
matter of Din except if he is a scholar of the Book of Allah 0i; 
is learned in abrogating and abrogated ayas; the unequivocal ayas 



[muhkam]; the ambiguous ayas [mutashdbih]; interpretation [ta'wll]; 
background of the revelation; the ayas revealed in Makka and in 
Madina; and has insight into the underlying meaning of the ayas. 
Further, he should be learned in the ahadith, in the abrogating and 
abrogated ahadith, and all the different sciences required for the 
Quran. Then he should also be skilled in Arabic linguistics and po- 
etry and an expert in all the fields that are requisite for a complete 
understanding of the Quran and Sunna. After all this, he should 
also be acquainted with the sayings of the scholars. All these fields 
should become second nature to him due to his proficiency in them. 
After this, he may give fatwa; otherwise it is forbidden. Salih ibn Ah- 
mad says: I said to my father [Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal], 'What do 
you think of a person who when asked a fatwa, issues it according to 
the hadith but without any knowledge of fiqh?' He replied, 'It is ab- 
solutely necessary for one who sits in the place of fatwa to know the 
ways of the Quran, to be impeccable in his knowledge of the ahadith 
and to be a scholar of authentic chains of transmission.' Then, Imam 
Ahmad ibn Hanbal quoted everything Imam Shafi'i mentioned pre- 
viously. Once someone asked Abd Allah ibn Mubarak, 'When is it 
permissible for someone to give fatwa?' He replied, 'When he carries 
profound insight in his opinion and in the ahadith.' 

Hafiz Ibn Qayyim says, "By opinion, he is referring to true analogical 
deduction, the underlying meanings and principles upon which the whole 
foundation of the sayings of the Blessed Prophet j§& is based. This makes 
the rulings of the Din effective." 3 

Shah Wall Allah 0* Dehlawl writes in 'Iqd al-Jld: 

Whoever is erudite in the greater part of these branches of knowledge 
is a mujtahid. 

Rafi'l, Nawawl and numerous other scholars say that there are two 
types of mujtahids: independent [mustaqill] and affiliated [muntasib]. It 
is evident from their writings that an independent mujtahid is greatest in 
three things: 

i He derives the principles upon which his madhhab stands. 

2 He studies, researches, and engrosses himself in the verses and 
ahadith of the Blessed Prophet Jk to find proof for issues that 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

confront him. He favors one proof over the other when they 
contradict each other. He also expounds on the references 
from which he derived his rulings. 

3 He confronts new issues which have not yet been discussed 
and presents them in light of evidence [from the Quran and 

An affiliated mujtahid is one who is a follower of his teacher in the 
principles and who takes help from him in seeking evidence on rulings. 
He knows the rulings in light of their evidence and is fully capable of 
deriving rulings from the evidence. Whoever is below these two is a 
mujtahid in the madhhab [mujtahid fi al-madhhab]. He is a follower of 
his imam in any ruling attributed to the imam, but is also fully aware 
of the principles his imam used to derive the rulings. If he cannot find a 
ruling on an issue from his imam, he exercises ijtihad using his teacher's 
principles and, in general, derives rulings based on the framework of 
these principles. 

The last level is the mufti who is infused with the knowledge of his 
madhhab and has the competence to prefer one opinion over the other [in 
one ruling within a madhhab]. 


Ibn 'Abidln in his booklet, Sharh'Uqud Rasm al-Muftl, explains the seven 
types of mujtahids: 

Mujtahid in the Shari'a [Mujtahid fi al-Shar']: These are the four 
imams who devised the principles and derived rulings from the 
four main sources without following anyone in fundamental or 
derivative rulings. 

Mujtahid in a madhhab [Mujtahid fi al-madhhab\. As in Imam 
Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad ibn Hasan ShaibanI and all 
the students of Imam Abu Hanlfa who derived rulings using the 
principles which he derived from the main sources. Although they 
disagreed in some derivative rulings with Imam Abu Hanlfa, they 
are his followers in the principles. The difference between the mu- 
jtahid in madhhab and parallel scholars [muaridlnfi al-madhhab] 



like Imam Shafi'l is that the mujtahid in madhhab are Imam Abu 
Hanlfa's followers in the principles while [other mujtahids like] 
Imam Shafi'l are not. 

Mujtahid in rulings [Mujtahid ft al-Masa 'il\. They practice ijtihad 
in the rulings in which there is no known opinion of Imam Abu 
Hanlfa. This category includes scholars like Khassaf, Tahawl, 
Shams al-Aimma HalwanI, Shams al-SarakhsI, Fakhr al-Islam 
Bazdawl, and Qadl Khan, etc. This group of scholars follows 
Imam Abu Hanlfa in his principles and his derivative rulings, but 
derives rulings based on his principles on issues in which there is 
no known opinion or ruling by Imam Abu Hanlfa. 

The Deducers [Ashab al-Takhrij]: As in Abu Bakr RazI, etc. They 
are capable of correctly interpreting a general ruling which carries 
the possibility of two different interpretations. 

The Preponderers [Ashab al-Tarjlh]: As in Qudurl and MarghinanI, 
etc. They are best at putting different opinions of one ruling in 
their respective places. For example, they may categorize an opin- 
ion as correct, the most virtuous, or that which is 'easiest upon the 
people' based on their situations. 

The Followers [Muqallidun\. They can examine and discern the 
strongest or the weakest of opinions of Imam Abu Hanlfa on one 
issue. They also can distinguish which of the opinions in one rul- 
ing is the most reliable [zahir al-riwaya] and which is the most 
estranged [nadir]. 

This category consists of the second type of followers [who put 
their trust in the opinion of others without asking for proof] who 
do not possess any of the capabilities of the aforementioned cat- 
egories. They cannot even differentiate between the more and less 
reliable opinion or the preferred or rejected opinion. 


Shaikh I'zaz All said of the different aspects of ijtihad, "The technical defi- 
nition of ijtihad is to exert one's effort by the order of the Shari'a to deduce 
an opinion." Then he mentions the various conditions of ijtihad which we 
have already covered. After this, he says: 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

These are the tools of the mujtahid. Whoever claims to practice ijti- 
had but does not possess these tools is like a person who claims he 
can reach the skies without any stairs. After this, it is important that 
this individual exerts himself in these fields of knowledge and pon- 
ders deeply on the evidence from wherein he is capable of deriving 
rulings. Once he is capable of deriving rulings, it is important he 
devises principles by which he derives rulings from the evidence, like 
the principles of Imam Shafi'i and the other imams. It is precisely 
these principles which stop people from understanding the essence 
of ijtihad, because one does not obtain the skill of ijtihad by merely 
gaining proficiency in the different fields of knowledge. It is most 
important to understand that ijtihad is inherent and that one devises 
the principles upon which he will derive the rulings. Therefore, one 
cannot claim to be a mujtahid if he is deficient in any field of knowl- 
edge or that he is proficient in all the necessary fields of knowledge 
but does not possess the ability of ijtihad, or that he possesses the ca- 
bility of ijtihad but does not devise the principles by which to derive 
rulings from the evidence. 


Despite his greatness, when Suyutl claimed to be a mujtahid the 
scholars of his time broke ranks with him and challenged him to a 
debate. He refused and withdrew his claim soon after. 
Ibn Hajar Makki writes: 

The contemporary scholars condemned Suyutl and pre- 
pared a set of juridical cases, each of them containing two 
opposing opinions of the pious predecessors. This was to 
determine whether he possessed the lowest level of ijtihad. 
If he truly was a mujtahid, he would be able to select the 
more preferred of the two opinions by deriving from the evi- 
dences using the principles of the four great imams. Suyutl 
returned the paper unanswered saying he did not have time 
to answer the questions. 

Then, Ibn Hajar Makki comments, "Think of the burden one must 
bear as a mujtahid, and this was only the lowest level of ijtihad. This 
shows that whosoever lays claim to even the lowest level of ijtihad, let 



alone independent ijtihad [ijtihad mutlaqY, is a vain person, mired 
in self-deception, and his arms and legs are flailing about in the 

Whosoever understands the greatness of the position of independent 
ijtihad will be ashamed to attribute this to anyone in this time. In fact, 
Ibn Salah and his followers say the doors of independent ijtihad have been 
closed for three hundred years. 5 Ibn Salah quotes some scholars of the 
principles of Din as saying that there is no mujtahid after Imam Shafi'l. 
He adds that the scholars disagree as to whether Imam al-Haramain al- 
Juwainl al-Shafi'l and Ghazall, two eminent scholars, belong in any rank 
of the mujtahids or not. The scholars state regarding Rayunl, the author of 
al-Bahr al-Ra'iq 6 , that he was not amongst the mujtahids though he often 
said, "I can recount the narrations of Imam Shafi'l by memory if they are 
ever lost." When such eminent scholars could not reach the level of itjihad 
in madhhab, then how can one who can't even understand the writings of 
these scholars claim a higher level of ijtihad? 

Rafi'l is quoted as saying, "It is almost a consensus of the scholars that 
no mujtahids remain today" 


This is a lengthy article worth reading. An essay written by Shaikh Hablb 
al-Rahman Azaml [published in the magazine, al-Da'i, of Deoband at the 
end of Sha'ban in 1396/1976] summarizes this subject. He says: 

The ijtihad, which many scholars say has gone extinct, refers to inde- 
pendent ijtihad. This is plainly stated by Ibn Hajar Makki and Ibn 
Salah. In fact, Ibn $alah quotes many scholars on the principles of 
Din saying that there has been no independent mujtahid since Imam 
Shafi'i. Sha'rani says, "After the four imams, none has laid claim to 
being an independent mujtahid except for Ibn Jarir al-Tabarl, who 
has been denounced by all." 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

This is what is known historically. As far as whether it is actually possi- 
ble for any independent mujtahid to be born after the four imams, Sha'ranI 
states, "No doubt, the possibility exists because Allah $jfr is All-Powerful, 
and there is no evidence to prove otherwise." Shaikh Abd al-Hayy says, 

Whoever says no mujtahid can be born after the four imams is sure- 
ly mistaken. But if he proclaims that no such person existed who 
claimed to be a mujtahid and was accepted by the majority of schol- 
ars after the four imams, he is absolutely correct. 


1 Mughnl 11/383 

2 I'lam al-Muwaqqi'in il 46 

3 /' lam al-Muwaqqi'in 1/ 46 

4 Independent ijtihad refers to the ijtihad in which the mujtahid is not dependent on 
another in deriving rulings. For example, Imam Abu Hanifa practiced independent 
ijtihad though his students did not, since they were dependent on his principles to 
derive rulings from the Qur'an and Sunna. 

5 Ibn Salah was a scholar from the J' k century C.E. which means that in his view 
independent ijtihad had ceased from the 4 th century A. H. 

6 Commentary of the Hanafi text, Kanz al-Daqaiq 




Chapter Five 



Shdh Wall Allah Dehlawl writes in his book 'Iqd al-Jid: 

Know that there are many reasons behind restricting the commu- 
nity to four imams. There are many problems with following anyone 
besides the four imams and we will prove this with strong evidence. 
Firstly, the community is unanimous that we must trust the pious 
predecessors in understanding the Shari'a. This is why the First Suc- 
cessors always trusted the Companions %. just as the Second Succes- 
sors trusted the First Successors in understanding the Shari'a. Even 
the rationale supports this arrangement because the Shari'a can only 
be learned by narration and derivation. Narration can only be au- 
thentic when it is acquired from the people who precede us. As for 
derivation, one is dependent on knowledge of the madhhabs of the 
earlier scholars; this is so as to avoid splintering from them by holding 
an opinion that opposes the [scholarly] consensus. Any opinion taken 
must be based on their opinion and nothing else. To gain knowledge 
of the earlier scholars every generation must seek help from the gen- 
eration before it, as is the case with all the arts and sciences, such as 
Arabic morphology, Arabic syntax, medicine, poetry, blacksmithing, 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

carpentry, and dyeing. One cannot master any of these until he spends 
time with an expert in the respective field. Though it is rationally pos- 
sible for one to be self-trained in any field, it is unlikely to happen. 

Now, when it is understood that we must rely on the sayings of 
the pious predecessors, it is also important that these sayings have an 
authentic chain of transmission, that they are compiled in reliable 
books, and that the scholars have annotated these books to clarify 
one meaning where various meanings may exist. In some places, the 
general [amm] should be made specific [khas] and an indeterminate 
word [mutlaq] a determinate word [muqayyad] and the evidence of 
the rulings should be derived there from. 

The second proof is that the Blessed Prophet jffc. said, "Follow 
the majority group [sawad al-a'zam]." 1 Thus, when every madhhab 
besides the madhhab of the four imams disappeared, following the 
madhhab of one of the four imams is the majority group [sawad al- 
a'zam\ and to part from them is to separate from the majority group 
[sawad al-a'zam\ . 

The third proof is that a long time has past and trustworthiness 
in people has disappeared. We certainly cannot depend on the errant 
scholars. They would attribute false statements towards the pious 
predecessors whose trustworthiness and truthfulness is known. Since 
this transmission through the errant scholars is not dependable, we 
will reject whatever is narrated by them. As for the four madhhabs, 
it is necessary for us to adhere to them because their madhhabs are 
organized and systematized; their books are endorsed by the scholars 
and are dependable. Therefore, no one can attribute anything wrong 
towards them. 2 


Mufti Muhammad Shafl' in his book Jawahir al-Fiqh explains why we 
follow only four imams and answers the question as to whether there is 
anything wrong with following any imam. He also addresses the question 
regarding whether following the four imams is proven to be in accordance 
with the Quran and Sunna. He writes: 

Restricting taqlid to the four imams happened incidentally and 
was not a legal or rational choice. By the will of Allah jgs, every 


Restricting the Mujtahids to Four Imams 

madhhab besides the four madhhabs disappeared over time and 
became as if they never existed. Even if ten, thirty, fifty, or hun- 
dred rulings from their madhhab are saved, one cannot establish a 
complete madhhab based on such a small number of rulings. If one 
decides to follow them in these rulings, then what is to be done in 
the thousands of other issues where there is no known opinion by 
them? As every madhhab besides the madhhabs of the four imams 
disappeared it became clear that following our Din would be sub- 
ject to following one of the four madhhabs. Therefore, Ibn Khal- 
dun writes in his Muqaddamat al-Tarlkb regarding the madhhab of 
the Literalists [Ahl al-Zahir\: 

S 3^3^ list } 

» Jo J>s4l i_JS\ll j> }\ ^1 1 j <ul;>w^ 

Then the madhhab of the Literalists vanished because their imams died 
out and because the majority [jamhur] rejected their followers and noth- 
ing remained of them except their names in the new books. 

Ibn Khaldun adds: 

w^S si s si iC s 

si si s Is s I I > s y 

*jujl\ <£l\ *lp> jJuii (ip jy2l .SL^I J*l 'jC& jij ■ ■ -(V*fy-y" 

All the different regions, only following of the four imams is observed 
while the followers of all other imams have died. When terminologies 
overwhelmed the sciences, reaching the level of ijtihad became dif- 
ficult [because of the inability to fulfill its conditions]. When ijtihad 
was about to come in the hands of inept and untrustworthy people and 
those who did not possess the good character of Din, the scholars de- 
clared the door of ijtihad closed. They exhorted people to follow one of 
the four imams and prohibited them from conjoining madhhabs. The 
rulings and opinions of other imams, therefore, only survived in the 
books. Their madhhabs never developed and neither were there any 
books that preserved all their rulings. Once the principles had been 
laid out and the chain of transmission to the imam authenticated, every 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

person took the madhhab of their imam. Then the word fiqh, in that 
time, became the epitome for following one imam only. The claim to 
ijtihad, especially in this age, is absolute nonsense and following such a 
person is unwarranted. The scholars of Islam are now unanimous upon 
following these four imams. 

Shaikh Ibn Hammam writes in al-Fath al-Qadir. 

si S S S i S I I S I s I 

The consensus is that none of the madhhabs which compete with the 
four imams will be followed. 

Ibn Hajar Makkl writes in Fath al-Mubin [commentary of al-Arbdln\: 

/ si si s is } s } s s ss s 

cjiSU j "<j?pA\ &°ji\ aI^I jIp jJ& j^'V O jUi £Uj Jj Ul 

sis i s s i s ... i s i s 

And in our time, our scholars say it is not permissible to follow any- 
one except Imam Shafi'i, Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa, and 
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. 

Now, for someone to ask for proof as to why taqlld is restricted to four 
imams is feeblemindedness. This is like the example of a father who had 
eight children of which four died in his life and four remained after his 
death. It is understood that any inheritance the father leaves behind will 
be distributed amongst the four children only, and the four children who 
died before the father will not receive any share of the inheritance. Of 
course, this is not a denial of their existence at some point in the past. In 
this case, you will never hear a person ask why the inheritance is being 
distributed amongst the four sons only and why the deceased children are 
not getting their share. But if anyone did ask, we would say that this is 
how fate had it. 


Restricting the Mujtahids to Four Imams 
Mulla Jlvan wrote in his Tafslr al-Ahmadi: 

■j f 

The truth is that the restriction to four imams is nothing but the 
grace of Allah 0i and a sign of His acceptance of the four imams. 
There is no place for evidence and reasoning in this matter. 

<-■'■> ENDNOTES 

1 Musnad Ahmad, 30/392, 32/157 

2 Iqd al-Jld, p. 14 


Chapter Six 



When the doors of ijtihad closed and every madhhab ceded to the 
madhhabs of the four imams, taqlld of the four madhhabs became in- 
cumbent upon the community. Those who say taqlld is polytheism [shirk] 
do not understand the meaning of taqlld. Taqlld is not independent of 
the Sunna of the Blessed Prophet §£. It is nothing more than acceptance 
of all the rulings the mujtahids derived from the Quran, the ahadlth, 
and the sayings of the Companions d|t. This is because the definition of 
taqlld is given as: 

When one who does not possess the ability of ijtihad accepts the 
derivative juristic rulings of a mujtahid; he does not ask for proof 
and trusts that the mujtahid possesses the proof to support his ruling. 

In Abu Dawild, Jabir j^. narrates: 

"Once we went on a journey. A stone hit and injured one of the men 
on the head. Shortly after, he became impure by major ritual im- 
purity \janaba] and had to take a bath. He asked his friends, Am 
I allowed to perform dry ablution [tayammum\V They replied, 'No, 
not when water is available.' He then took a bath and died shortly 



thereafter. After they returned, the Blessed Prophet j§i was informed 
of the incident. He said, "They killed him, may Allah 0i kill them. 
When they did not know the ruling why didn't they ask a scholar; 
asking is the cure for an incompetent person." 1 

These people derived their opinion from the explicit meaning of the 
aya, 'and you did not find water,' 2 but as mentioned previously, there are 
many conditions for ijtihad. This is why Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyya 
says in his fatwa: 

The opinion of the majority of the community is that ijtihad and 
taqlid are both permissible: ijtihad for one who has the ability to do 
so and taqlid for the one incapable of it. 3 

In another place, he writes: 

It is permissible for a person to follow a specific imam when he is un- 
able to gather information about the Shari'a from any other source. 
Though, if he can gain knowledge of the Shari'a through other 
means, he is not then obligated to follow the madhhab of that imam. 

Abu al-Walld Bajl Malikl, commentator of the Muwatta writes in 
Kitab al-Hudud fi al Usui:"' 

Taqlid means to accept the one you are following without asking for 
proof though you may already know it. This is obligatory upon a 
person who is incapable of ijtihad. 

Shaikh Gangohl writes in one of his letters 5 which Mufti Shafl' repro- 
duced in his book Jawahir al-Fiqh: 

You say: taqlid of a specific imam is an evil innovation [al-bid'at 

al-sayyi a] . 

I say: According to you, taqlid of a specific imam is permissible and 
you have admitted to this yourself. The only problem is you do not 
understand the meaning of 'permissibility' Listen for a minute, you 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

should know that you have just rejected the textual and rational evi- 
dences of taqlid [by pronouncing that taqlid of a specific imam is an 
evil innovation]. Taqlid itself is mandated by the aya: 

So, ask the people [having the knowledge] of the message if you do 
not know. 6 

And the hadith: 

> , , . , A 

Verily the cure of an incompetent [who does not possess the necessary 
means, skill or know-how] person is in asking. 7 

It is also understood that Din cannot be attained without learn- 
ing; it is not something acquired by the senses or the intellect. There- 
fore, absolute taqlid [taqlid mutlaq\ is itself mandatory [for one who 
does not possess the ability of ijtihad]. Surely, you will accept this 
much but if you don't, than I shall prove it in another way: 

Absolute taqlid is of two kinds: 

i Restricted taqlid [to a specific imam] 
2 Unrestricted taqlid 

Both these two originate from the same root of absolute taqlid re- 
gardless of how you put it. You may call it a root and its two branches, 
an absolute and its two particulars, or a whole and its two parts; put 
it anyway you want it. Anyhow, both of these two particulars are 
subordinate to absolute taqlid, which is mandatory. Now I ask you, 
how a part [or branch] of a whole [or root] which is mandatory can 
itself be permissible. O servant of Allah 0il Mandatory and allow- 
able [mubah] are two opposite branches from the root of command 
[hukm\. Then, how can the branch of allowable simultaneously be 
a branch of its opposite [mandatory]. Think for a minute, absolute 
taqlid is mandatory and restricted taqlid allowable, though restricted 
taqlid is a part of absolute taqlid. The discrepancy in your thinking is 



based on this one misunderstanding. Now use your head. Both types 
of taqlid are mandatory. There is no allowable except in the option of 
choosing between restricted and unrestricted taqlid. If you take one 
you have no need for the other but if you leave both you are sinful. 
The option of choosing between one of the two is metaphorically 
called allowable, not that restricted taqlid itself is allowable. The ex- 
ample of this is like expiation for one who breaks his oath [balaf]. 
Expiation for breaking the oath is itself mandatory but one is per- 
mitted to expiate by feeding the poor, clothing them or freeing a 
slave. It is permitted for him to do any one of the three, but to refuse 
all of them is a sin. Likewise is the case with all the general principles 
of the Shari'a. Everything the Shari'a regulates as a general order 
is mandatory. The permissibility is only in choosing the option be- 
tween one of its many parts. It is not the contradiction you assumed 
by declaring restricted taqlid as allowable when it is actually manda- 
tory. If this is the case, then by the same token that restricted taqlid 
is at the most allowable in your opinion, those who say restricted 
taqlid is mandatory will respond that unrestricted taqlid should be 
an evil innovation. This is because unrestricted taqlid is in the same 
meaning as restricted taqlid in being allowable since they both are 
branches of the same root [i.e., if restricted taqlid is an innovation 
in your opinion, then why would it be wrong for them to assert that 
unrestricted taqlid is also an innovation since both restricted and 
unrestricted taqlid are branches of the same root]. 


The letter is lengthy but worth reading. Mufti Shaff reproduced a letter of 
Shaikh Qasim Nanautwi, who wrote: 

Listen to this important point on taqlid. Undoubtedly, there is only 
one Din, and that is the Din of Islam, and all the four madhhabs are 
on truth [haqq]. 

Ayurveda and modern medicine are essentially the same. The 
ayurvedic diagnoses and prescribes medicines like the modern phy- 
sician but at the time of sickness, the only one whose treatment is 
taken is the one who is caring for the patient. Nobody will take the 
opinion of the other, be it the ayurvedic or the physician. Likewise, 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

in common issues or otherwise when there is disagreement between 
the madhhabs, the muqallid will follow his imam whoever it may 
be. Yes, it sometimes happens that we leave one physician for an- 
other, but even then we only take the medicine prescribed by the new 
physician. Likewise, it happened in the past that some of our pious 
predecessors left their madhhab for whatever reason and began fol- 
lowing another. Once they changed their madhhab, they stuck with 
it. They never combined different opinions from different madhhabs 
as if making their own fifth madhhab. Imam Tahawi, an eminent 
jurist and hadith master, was previously Shafi'i but later chose the 
Hanafi madhhab. However, there is no way out without taqlid. This 
is why millions of hadith masters and other scholars were muqallid. 
Take the example of Imam Tirmidhi, who was a great scholar, jurist, 
and hadith master. He is also the author of the renowned hadith 
collection, Sunan al-Tirmidhi but was still a muqallid, and if you do 
not believe me study his hadith book, Sunan al-Tirmidhi. When such 
scholars were muqallid [Imam Tirmidhi was a muqallid of Imam 
Shafi'i; Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad were muqallid 
of Imam Abu Hanifa] then which scholar of our time can be free 
of taqlid? And what difference does it make if one of the previous 
scholars did not do taqlid of one of the imams? Who looks at one or 
two people when millions are doing it? If you ask anyone with any 
understanding, you will be told that the true way is to follow the way 
that has been established from the time of the pious predecessors in 
our community. Furthermore, it would be foolish of us to straddle 
between madhhabs only because a few scholars did so in the past. It 
is like the example of a sick and ignorant person observing a physi- 
cian diagnosing and treating himself and suddenly he feels he should 
do the same. After all, if the physician can do it why can't he and 
thus save himself a trip to the doctor? Would you call this person 
smart or foolish? Similarly, if an ignoramus rejects taqlid on the basis 
that some scholar in the past did his own ijtihad, would you not say, 
regardless of whether he truly possesses knowledge or not, that he 
has no common sense in matters of Din? And forget the ignorant 
ones, believe me, even most of the scholars of today are completely 
ignorant. In fact, some of these scholars are more ignorant than the 
ignorant. With two Urdu books under their arms, they go around 
giving speeches without possessing an iota of knowledge. Knowledge 
of Din is when one can teach any subject of Din to the seekers of 
knowledge. 8 



Amongst many of the letters of Shaikh Hussain Ahmad MadanI 9 is a long 
letter written in response to the former head of al-Jama t al-Islaml in India, 
Abu al-Laith. He writes: 

Shaikh Muhammad Hussain Batalwl was one of the fieriest leaders 
of the Salafl group. He was bitterly opposed to taqlld and was one 
of the foremost propagators of the Salafl movement in India at the 
time. He [Shaikh Batalwl] writes in his magazine Isha'at al-Sunna 
[v.a: p. 20, 51-53]: 

After fifty-three years of experience, I have learned this 
much: those who ignorantly renounce following an inde- 
pendent mujtahid and belief in absolute taqlid eventually say 
farewell [salam] to Islam. Some of them convert to Chris- 
tianity while others renounce all religions and become in- 
dependent of any religion or belief. The lowest level of this 
renunciation is rejection of and deviation from the rulings of 
Shari'a; some of these heretics go as far to reject the Jumu'a 
salat, congregational salat, salat, and fasting. They do not 
abstain from alcohol and usury. Some of them avoid open 
confrontation with the Din for worldly reasons but are en- 
gaged in it quietly. They entrap women, wedding them ille- 
gitimately; and usurp people's wealth through impermissible 
means; hold up the wealth owed to Allah 0i; and violate His 
rights. There are other ways of inviting disbelief, apostasy, 
and heresy, but the most effective way of destroying the Din 
of the people who are ignorant of Din, is rejection of taqlld.' 


This excerpt of Shaikh Muhammad Hussain Batalwl's words taken by 
Shaikh Hussain Ahmad MadanI shows what Shaikh learned after many 
years of experience. In another book, Sawanih-e-Qasiml, there is another 
incident about him. Shaikh Muhammad Hussain Batalwl wrote a letter 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

to Shaikh Qasim Nanautwl saying, "I need to talk to you privately about 
some important matters, but under the condition that none of your stu- 
dents will be with you when we talk." Shaikh Nanautwl accepted and 
replied, "Please do come." Thereafter, Shaikh Batalwl came to Shaikh 
Nanautwl, the door of the room was closed, and the conversation began. 

Shaikh Nanautwl said to Shaikh Batalwl, "Whatever you say, be 
aware of two things. First, you will narrate the ruling of the Hanafi madh- 
hab while I am responsible for presenting the evidences. Second, I am a 
muqallid of Imam Abu Hanlfa; any objection you raise must be based on 
a ruling of Imam Abu Hanlfa, not something written in Shdmf° or by the 
author of al-Durr al-Mukhtdr that he said such and such thing because I 
am not their muqallid." 

Thereafter, many controversial issues of raising the hands after bowing 
[ruku], reciting Surat al-Fatiha behind the imam, saying amin out loud, 
and other such issues were discussed. As per instruction, Shaikh Batalwl 
narrated the ruling of the Hanafi madhhab on the issue while Shaikh 
Nanautwl presented evidence from the Quran and Sunna. During the 
talk, whenever Shaikh Nanautwl presented his arguments and evidences, 
Shaikh Batalwl would become ecstatic, frequently crying out, Allah 03. be 
praised, Allah 0z be praised,' and almost stood up in amazement. When 
the talk was over, he said, "I am amazed that a person like yourself and 
then a muqallid!" (i.e. with all this knowledge, insight, and ability to de- 
rive from the Quran and Sunna how can you be a muqallid?) Shaikh 
Nanautwl replied, "And I am amazed that a person like yourself can be a 
Salafl." I also heard this same incident from some elders. They said that 
at the end of their talk, Shaikh Nanautwl said to Shaikh Batalwl, "Your 
saying what you said about me while I am a muqallid is reasonable proof 
of the importance of taqlld." 


One of my classmates, who graduated from Mazahir al-'Ulum, 11 was later 
employed as a librarian in the school library but left because of the low 
salary. He went to work in Aligarh [India] for a Ph.D doctor who was a 
Salafl. He sent me a letter three or four days after being hired, explaining 
how he was enjoying it in Aligarh and that the salary was decent. He also 
said, "He [the doctor] is very good; he loves me and always invites me for 



dinner. Since I have arrived though, I have gotten myself stuck in a pre- 
dicament. When he prays and rises from after bowing, he raises his hands 
and keeps them frozen in that position until he is in prostration [sajda]. 
He never falls on his face because he is used to it, but when I do the same 
thing I fall on my face. When I tell him that Shaikh Thana Allah 0* 
PanlpatI and Shaikh Nazlr Hussain [known Salafl scholars] wrote in their 
fatwas that one should drop his hands after raising the hands he exclaims, 
'Am I a muqallid of Shaikh Nazlr and Shaikh PanlpatI? If I wanted to do 
taqlld why shouldn't I just follow Imam Abu Hanlfa who was greater in his 
knowledge, his deeds, and his taqwa than them?' Could you kindly send 
me a hadith that proves that the Blessed Prophet $§5s dropped his hands 
immediately after he raised them before he prostrated? I am in a very dif- 
ficult position." 

At the time, I was teaching a session on ahadlth. I don't have the letter at 
the moment, nor do I remember the whole incident, but I do remember 
sending some ahadlth by Abu Humaid al-Sa'dl ^ from Bukharl. In the 
hadith, the Companion J^ describes the Blessed Prophet j§&: 

„ l> , , , , , 

As he stood up, he would relax until every limb was in its proper place. 12 

This can only be true if the Blessed Prophet Jp dropped his hands after 
raising them. 


Shari'a & TarIqa 


i Abu Dawud, fi al-Majrilh Yatayammam 

2 5:6 

3 Fatawa Ibn Taimiyya, 20/203 

4 Kitab al-Hududfi al-Usul, p. 64 

5 This letter was written in response to someone who wrote to him about the matter 
of taqlid. He agreed that absolute taqlid was obligatory but declared that taqlid of a 
specific imam [taqlid al-shakhs] was an innovation and if anything, permissible only. 

6 21:7 

7 Baihaqi 1/227 I Dare Qutni 1/189 | Abu Dawud fi al-Majruh Yatayammam 

8 Jawahir al-Fiqh, 1/135 

9 Makatib Shaikh Hussain Madam, p. 416 

10 An appellation for the Hanafi text, Radd al-Mukhtar 

11 Reknowned traditional Islamic school in Saharanpur, India 

12 Bukhari, Sunnat al-Julus fi al-Tashahhud 


Chapter Seven 

TaqlId of the Greatest Imam, 
Imam Abu hanIfa 


The madhhab of Imam Abu Hanlfa, which is the most prevalent 
madhhab in the Indian subcontinent, spread through the first Muslim 
conquerors who were Hanafls. Thus, the Hanafl madhhab spread with 
the spread of Islam in the subcontinent. There are many other reasons 
why the Hanafl madhhab flourished in the subcontinent, as I have men- 
tioned in the introduction to my book, Aujaz al-Masalik. One of the 
reasons was that, of all the imams, the period of Imam Abu Hanlfa was 
closest to the Blessed Prophet j§j. He lived in the same century as the 
Blessed Prophet j§& and was born in 80 A.H. 

In Bukhdrl, the three-person transmission [thuldthiyat] ahadlth are the 
most authentic ahadlth and many books have been authored on them. A 
three-person transmission hadith is a hadith in which the chain consists 
of three people between the hadith master [e.g., Imam Bukharl] and the 
Blessed Prophet j§i: the first being the teacher of the hadith master then 
a First Successor, and lastly a Companion jjfj.. According to the Hanafls, 
Imam Abu Hanlfa was a First Successor therefore only a Companion ^ 
came in between him and the Blessed Prophet j§j, and the maxim about 
the Companions gfe, is: al-Sahaba Kulluhum 'Udiil [all the Companions gfe. 
were righteous]. Those who take Imam Abu Hanlfa as a First Successor say 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

the Hanafl madhhab is a two-chain transmission [thand'i], the first one 
being a Companion £§,, the second a First Successor who is also the teacher 
of Imam Abu Hanifa; and a student is more informed of his teacher than 
anyone else. Therefore, to accuse the Hanafl madhhab of weakness is a 
fair sign of incompetence in the science of hadith. One cannot fault narra- 
tions in evidence of the Hanafl madhhab if a weak narrator is found in the 
third or fourth link down the chain of transmission. For this reason Ibn 
Taimiyya writes in his fatwas: 1 

The imams who came before the collection of hadith books knew the 
Sunna of the Blessed Prophet j§s more than the later scholars. This 
was because many of the ahadith, which reached them and were au- 
thentic in their opinion, often times reached us with a broken chain 
or through an unknown narrator. At that time, their hearts carried 
a larger number of ahadith and sciences than are found in the books 
of ahadith. 

Another notable point is that Imam Bukhari compiled twenty-three 
three-person transmission ahadith. Twenty of them consist of students or 
students of the students of Imam Abu Hanifa. Eleven are by Makki ibn 
Ibrahim who was a student of Imam Abu Hanifa. It is known that once 
he narrated a hadith saying, "Abu Hanifa narrated to us." Someone from 
the crowd shouted, "We don't want to hear the hadith of Abu Hanifa, 
narrate the hadith of Ibn Juraij." He replied, "I do not narrate my ahadith 
to idiots and it is unlawful upon you to write any of my narrations." After 
this, he refused to narrate another hadith until the objector was expelled 
from the gathering. 

Six ahadith are by Abu 'Asim al-Nabil Dahhaq ibn Mukhlid who also 
was a student of Imam Abu Hanifa. Three ahadith are by Muhammad ibn 
Abd Allah Ansari who was a student of Imam Zufr and Imam Abu Yusuf. 
Two narrators remain. I was not able to determine whether they were stu- 
dents of Imam Abu Hanifa or not. 

It is narrated in the introduction of Aujaz that Sha'rani said that what- 
ever ahadith Imam Abu Hanifa brought in support of his madhhab were 
taken from the greatest First Successors of his time. It is unimaginable for 
anyone of them to be suspected of forging ahadith and if someone finds 
weakness in the evidence of the Hanafi madhhab, it is because of weak- 
ness in the narrators after them. Therefore, the weakness has no effect on 
the narrations which Imam Abu Hanifa chose in support of his madhhab. 


Taqlld of the Greatest Imam, Imam Abu Hanifa 

In Aujaz, we explained the madhhab of Imam Abu Hanifa in detail. 
In the ninth note it was explained that the madhhab of Imam Abu Hanifa 
was based on strong principles. The following article is taken from the 
work of Ibn Hajar al-Shafi'l. He said: 

It is essential that you are not deceived regarding the term scholars 
sometimes use about Imam Abu Hanifa and his companions being 
'the followers of opinion' \Ashab al-Ray]. Do not be deceived into 
thinking that Imam Abu Hanifa favored his own opinion over the 
Sunna or sayings of the Blessed Prophet j§i because he has been ex- 
culpated from any such accusation. This is because it is understood 
from different sources that Imam Abu Hanifa first took from the 
Qur'an and then looked in the ahadlth. And when nothing was to be 
found in the Sunna of the Blessed Prophet J§i he looked in the say- 
ings of the Companions ^t. If the Companions 5|t disagreed on an 
issue he took the opinion closest to the Qur'an and Sunna, and never 
ignored the sayings of the Companions jjgt. When an answer was not 
to be found in the sayings of the Companions Jjgt, he did his own ijti- 
had. He resorted to ijtihad in the end and, like other First Successors 
of his time, did not take the opinion of his contemporaries. 

Imam Abd Allah ibn Mubarak narrated that Imam Abu Hanifa said: 

We take a hadith if it is available, otherwise the sayings of the Com- 
panions $ft, but never beyond that. If we find the opinions of the 
First Successors, then I will compete with them [in deriving rulings]. 

It is also narrated that he said, "It is surprising that people say my 
fatwa is a product of my own opinion though I derive my fatwas from 
the ahadlth." 

He also said: 

It is not permissible for anyone to say anything from his own opinion 
when a ruling is to be found in the Qur'an; and the same is true of 
the ahadlth. Likewise, it is not permissible to form a different opin- 
ion when the Companions ^ agreed on any issue. It is only when 
the Companions £§£. disagreed that we will choose from their opin- 
ions whichever is closer to the Qur'an and Sunna. 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

Somebody once said to Imam Abu Hanlfa, "Stop using analogical 
deduction, Satan was the first to rationalize!" Imam Abu Hanlfa turned to 
him and said, "O so-and-so, your argument is irrational because Satan ra- 
tionalized to reject the order of Allah 0i and became a disbeliever, whereas 
my rationalization is to follow the commandments of Allah jgj. This is 
because my analogical deduction is based on the Quran, the Sunna of the 
Blessed Prophet j§i, the Companions jt^fc. and their First Successors. Thus, 
we are adherents of the Quran and Sunna, how then can we be equal to 
the accursed Satan?" 

The man replied, "I was mistaken, I repent to Allah Jfe. May Allah 0i 
enlighten your heart as you enlightened mine." 


Ibn tiajar Makkl said: 

The accusation against the Hanafls that they oppose the authentic 
ahadlth of the Blessed Prophet J§s without any proof is because the 
accusers did not research the principles of the Hanafl madhhab. 

He elaborated on the principles of the Hanafl madhhab as has been 
quoted in the introduction ofAujaz, saying: 

One of the many principles of the Hanafl madhhab is that a singular 
chain of transmission narration will not be accepted if it contradicts 
an agreed upon injunction. Also, a narration will be considered ab- 
rogated if the narrator's [Companion ^] own practice is against it. 
Likewise, a narration will be rejected if a narrator narrates something 
out-of-the-ordinary that has not been narrated by any of his contem- 
poraries. Another principle is that a ruling against a criminal will be 
overturned if a singular chain of transmission narration raises any 
doubt about the ruling. This is because the Hanafis do not accept 
doubt [sbubha] in matters related to criminal law. Another principle 
is that the singular chain of transmission narration will be consid- 
ered abrogated if the Companions $ft disagreed upon any issue in 
which that narration was ignored. Also, a narration with a singular 
chain of transmission will be rejected if it contradicts the explicit 


Taqlld of the Greatest Imam, Imam Abu Hanifa 

meaning of an aya of the Quran; this is because the Quran is defini- 
tive while the singular chain of transmission narration presumptive; 
and it is mandatory to choose the stronger evidence over the weaker 
one. Another principle is that the singular chain of transmission nar- 
ration is rejected if it opposes a known Sunna. 

These principles vindicate Imam Abu Hanifa from the false accusations 
[that he threw out singular chain of transmission narrations without justifi- 
able reason] that arose from the hearts of jealous men and those ignorant 
of his principles and of the concept of ijtihad. This also clarifies that Imam 
Abu Hanifa never ignored a hadith until he found evidence stronger than it. 

Ibn Hazam al-Zahirl says, "All the Hanafls are unanimous that in the 
madhhab of Imam Abu Hanifa a weak hadith is more preferable to any 
opinion that is reached thereafter." 

It is narrated that Sha'ranI said, "Imam Abu Hanifa was the most 
God-fearing, the most scholarly, the most pious, the most careful in mat- 
ters of Din, and the furthest of all people from interjecting his own opin- 
ion in Din. He never decided an issue until he gathered all his companions 
in one group, and when they all agreed that it fell according to the rules 
and principles of the Hanafl Madhhab, he would say to Imam Abu Yusuf, 
'Write this issue in such and such chapter.'" 

It has been mentioned in Aujaz that whenever an issue was raised be- 
fore him, he would ask his companions in a gathering, "What ahadlth do 
you have in this matter?" When everybody narrated whatever they knew 
and Imam Abu Hanifa narrated what he knew, he would take the opinion 
with the most narrations. In the introduction of Aujaz, I wrote at length 
on the various accusations leveled against Imam Abu Hanifa and their 
answers. The principle of Imam Abu Hanifa that a singular chain of trans- 
mission narration should not oppose the explicit meaning of an aya or a 
known Sunna of the Blessed Prophet j§& is actually taken from the words 
of 'Umar J^ regarding the divorce of Fatima bint Qais tifi. Fatima bint 
Qais %> complained to the Blessed Prophet Jk that her husband divorced 
her. According to Fatima bint Qais %, the Blessed Prophet Jffe ordered that 
she would neither stay in her former husband's home [sukna] nor receive 
allowance [nafqa] from him during her waiting period ['idda]. 'Umar J^ 
said, "We cannot ignore the injunctions of the Qur'an and Sunna because 
of one woman. Who knows whether she still remembers or has forgotten 
what he told her." 2 

According to some narrations, he said, "Maybe she is just conjecturing." 3 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

This is a famous quote from the four imams which has been narrated with 
different wordings. Hafiz ibn Hajar al-Asqalanl in Fath al-Bdri, elaborates 
on this under the chapter of "Raising both the Hands When Standing 
from Bowing." He narrates a quote from Ibn Daqlq al-'Id who said, "Ac- 
cording to the principles of Imam Shafi'i, raising the hands should be 
desirable," and comments, "As far as the statement that this 'Should be the 
madhhab of Imam Shafi'i because Imam Shafi'i said, 'When a hadith is 
authentic, it is my madhhab' is objectionable." 

Hafiz ibn Hajar continues, "The reason for objection is that we can 
only practice upon this statement of Imam Shafi'i when it is known that 
the hadith did not reach him. But if it did, and he rejected or interpreted 
it, then we cannot accept it." 

Hafiz ibn Hajar spoke the truth. 

Imam Malik narrates the narration of Ibn 'Umar ^ in his Muwatta 
that when the Blessed Prophet j§& raised himself from bowing, he raised 
his hands, though in Mudawwana, 4 he is famously quoted as saying that 
according to him raising the hands during salat is weak except in the open- 
ing takblr. He also said, "I do not find raising the hands anywhere else 
except in the opening takbir" I have expounded this issue in Aujaz. 

In Badhl al-Majhud, s many ahadlth are narrated about executing a 
thief who steals repeatedly under the chapter of 'Thief Who Steals Repeat- 
edly' It is narrated by Ibn Qayyim that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was 
asked, "Why did you reject these ahadlth?" He replied, "Because of the 
hadith of 'Uthman ^ in which it says that a Muslim can only be executed 
for three reasons and stealing is not mentioned amongst them." 

This subject has been discussed at length in Badhl al-Majhiid. The 
only point I wish to make is that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal knew of the 
ahadlth about 'executing a thief who steals repeatedly' but did not accept 
them. In the disagreement regarding the definition of a large body of water, 
the madhhab of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal is that anything more than two 
large clay vessels [qullatain-there is variance between Hanball scholars as 
to the exact size of these vessels] of water is a large body of water, though 
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal authenticates the b'ir al-buda hadith [which 
is contrary to his own madhhab] as mentioned in al-Mughni. 6 Therefore, 
whatever Hafiz ibn Hajar said about the statement of Imam Shafi'i was true. 

The Shaikh of Islam, Hafiz Ibn Taimiyya, in his booklet Raf al- 
Maldm, narrates ten different reasons why the imams rejected a hadith. 


Taqlld of the Greatest Imam, Imam Abu Hanifa 

One of them is that the hadith reached the imam, but he did not authen- 
ticate it or that he implemented certain conditions for a singular chain of 
transmission narration which this hadith did not fulfill. Another reason 
is that he received the hadith, but he interpreted it to remove a contradic- 
tion between this and another hadith. After narrating the ten reasons, Ibn 
Taimiyya says: 

These are the apparent reasons for rejecting a hadith. It is possible the 
scholar had another reason which we are unaware of because the sea 
of knowledge is very deep and we cannot grasp all the secrets that are 
hidden in the hearts of these scholars. Sometimes the scholar may re- 
veal his proof while at other times he may not. Sometimes he reveals 
it, but sometimes the proof reaches us and at other times it does not. 
Even when it reaches us sometimes we are able to figure how the evi- 
dence was derived while at other times we cannot; and this is regard- 
less of whether the proof is correct or incorrect. This is something 
that can only be disclosed to one who is erudite in the hadith, as in 
the four imams. Many authentic and clear ahadlth reached them, 
but they rejected them based on strong evidences. There are many 
authentic narrations on raising the hands [during salat], but neither 
the four imams nor the majority of the hadith masters accepted them. 

The issue of raising the hands [in salat] is mentioned in Aujaz. 


One thing that should never be forgotten is that a muqallid of any muj- 
tahid is not allowed to be disrespectful of any hadith master because he 
opposes the opinion of his own imam. In fact, even the heart should be 
kept pure about them. Shaikh of Islam, Ibn Taimiyya dedicated a whole 
booklet, titled Raf al-Malam 'an A' immat al-A' lam, on this matter which 
is important and worth reading. This booklet is available separately and is 
also appended to his collection of fatwas. In this booklet, he says: 

It is incumbent upon all Muslims to befriend the pious ones as they do 
Allah 0i and his Blessed Prophet j§i since it is the order of Allah 0i 
in the Quran. This is especially regarding the scholars of Islam who 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

are the inheritors of the prophets of Allah $$t and who are like the 
stars in the sky which guide us in the night when its darkness de- 
scends on the land and the seas. The community is unanimous in 
agreeing upon their insight and their guidance. The scholars of the 
Muslims are the greatest in the community because they are the 
successors of the Blessed Prophet j§i and revivers of the Sunnas of 
the Blessed Prophet JL The Book of Allah J& is preserved through 
them and they are nourished by it. It should be understood that none 
amongst the accepted imams wantonly rejected the ahadith of the 
Blessed Prophet jl>. This is because they are all unanimous that ad- 
herence to the Blessed Prophet j§s. is obligatory, and that anyone can 
be accepted or rejected, but none can reject the ahadith of the Blessed 
Prophet 0t. If the opinion of any scholar contradicts a hadith, there 
must be a reason behind it. 

After this, Ibn Taimiyya narrates ten reasons why the imams did not 
accept a hadith. He makes it clear that these are only the apparent reasons; 
there may be many other reasons we have no information about. In this 
booklet, he specifically rebuts those who are critical of the imams. He also 
writes that if a mujtahid is mistaken in his ijtihad he receives one reward 
and his mistake is forgiven but if he is correct, his reward is doubled. If he 
is not among the people of knowledge and he does ijtihad, he will be sinful. 
This is like the example of the hadith about the man who received a head 
injury and asked if he could perform dry ablution. When he was told he 
must take a bath and he died as a result soon after, the Blessed Prophet J» 
said about them, "They killed him, may Allah 0z kill them." 

Furthermore, there is a long discourse in the fatwas of Ibn Taimiyya 
in response to the question, 'Was Shaikh Abd al-Qadir JilanI among the 
loftiest of the friends of Allah $£ and was Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal the 
greatest of the imams?' This article is also worth reading. In this article, Ibn 
Taimiyya writes that one who believes that taqlld of Imam Shafi'l is the 
most virtuous should not criticize those who believe that taqlld of Imam 
Malik is the most virtuous. Likewise, those who believe that taqlld of Imam 
Ahmad ibn Hanbal is the greatest should not criticize those who believe 
taqlld of Imam Shafi'l is the greatest. Therefore, it is important for one to 
be cautious in taqlld of the imam he believes to be closest to the truth and 
this also goes for the mujtahid when he follows what he believes to be the 
closest to the truth. The most important thing is to never follow your lower 
self [nafs] and to never speak on an issue without prior knowledge of it. 


Taqlld of the Greatest Imam, Imam Abu Hanlfa 

Ibn Taimiyya also wrote that those who accuse Imam Abu Hanlfa and 
other imams of deliberately taking analogical deduction over the authentic 
ahadlth are displaying animosity towards the imams because they are only 
speaking from conjecture and their base desires. Take for example Imam 
Abu Hanlfa. They say that on many occasions he inclined towards analogi- 
cal deduction over authentic hadith. Then, Ibn Taimiyya counters this by 
narrating many instances of Imam Abu Hanlfa taking authentic ahadlth 
over analogical deduction. 

In Tadhkirat al-Rashld, Shaikh 'Ashiq Ilahl Mlratl illustrates the 
hadith sessions of Shaikh Rashid Ahmad Gangohl and says Shaikh 
Gangohl would say, "I have a special place in my heart for the madhhab 
of Imam Abu Hanlfa and am at peace about its being on truth [baqq]." 
Despite this love and affection for the madhhab of Imam Abu Hanlfa, it 
was unthinkable of him to disrespect another madhhab or the imam of 
another madhhab. If he ever saw any one of his students inclined towards 
spurning another madhhab, he corrected him both verbally and practi- 
cally. Even in taqlld he disliked the rise of sectarianism and discrimina- 
tion. If he felt some students being biased towards the hadith masters, 
he changed the course of his speech. When any of the students raised 
an objection or he heard any of them make a cutting remark [about any 
of the hadith masters] his look would change and he began narrating 
the evidences of Imam Bukharl in place of the evidences of the Hanafl 
madhhab. This was in order to inculcate love and respect in the students 
for the hadith masters. 

In Ap Biti, Shaikh Ashraf All Thanwl is quoted from Ifaddt-e-Yaumia 
as narrating that once a scholar sat in Shaikh Gangohi's session. After 
hearing Shaikh's speech, he became zealous and cried out, "Shaikh, in 
your session even a hadith becomes Hanafl. If Imam Shafi'l was alive, he 
would have been silenced." Shaikh became red with anger and said, "What 
are you saying? You think I would have the courage to say anything if 
Imam Shafi'l was alive? If he was here at this moment I would not dare 
speak in front of him. In fact, I would become his muqallid and would re- 
ject the taqlld of Imam Abu Hanlfa because it is not permissible to follow 
a deceased mujtahid while another is alive." 

I remember too from the elders that Shaikh Gangohl said, "Before 
Imam Shafi'l, my speech is like a childish objection." 


Sharj'a &TarJqa 

During my studies in Mazahir al-'Ulum, classes usually began on a 
Wednesday When I started my sessions, I also started on a Wednesday 
I began my session with the introduction to knowledge [muqaddamat al- 
'ilm], introduction to the book [muqaddamat al-kitab\, and other miscel- 
laneous topics which I continued until the coming Wednesday At the very 
end, my last topic of discussion was the basic proprieties [adab] required of 
every student during his studies, of which I specifically emphasized the ten 
basic proprieties. I was young and energetic and as the hadith says, 

i it s 

Youth is one branch of insanity. 7 

If I saw any student violating any one of the ten basic proprieties af- 
ter having been emphasized in the beginning of the year, I quickly got 
up from my place, slapped him, and returned to my seat. The students 
who had learned the basic ten proprieties understood why the student was 
slapped, but a guest or students from another class [who came in large 
numbers to attend my class] would be confused about what had happened. 
The students would say, "He probably slept or leaned his elbow on the 
book." The other proprieties are: 

i Sincerity of intention. 

2 Regular attendance in class. One could see my attendance 
register from those days. None of the students, for many years, 
had the absent sign after their name. 

3 Sitting in a straight line in class; students should sit respect- 
fully in a straight line. 

4 To not sleep in class. 

5 To not lean on a book. 

6 To not miss any hadith. For this reason, absence was a major 
sin in my class. 

One of my habits was that if a hadith contained a profane word [as 
in the chapter of criminal law] I translated it as it would be in Urdu; 
the only condition was that no student was allowed to laugh, then I 


Taqlld of the Greatest Imam, Imam Abu Hanifa 

explained the hadith. From my understanding, my Urdu translation was 
an exact rendering of what the Blessed Prophet j§& and Abu Bakr ^ 
had said. Should I consider my own dirty tongue to be better than the 
Blessed Prophet's j§& and Abu Bakr Siddique's <Jt? If they said what they 
said without any apprehension then who am I to avoid it thinking it bad 
manners? For example, when words like 'ankutuha and 'umsus bazr al- 
Ldt' came in the hadith, I translated it but, again, under the condition 
that no student laughed. 

7 Giving full respect to the scholars, i.e. to never object against 
them; utter disrespectful or derogatory remarks about them; 
and most importantly to never hold anything in the heart 
against them. Some people, in their defense of the Hanafl 
madhhab, debase the scholars and some idiots go as far as 
to criticize the hadith masters. This is something I have no 
patience for. 

8 To not feign respect, but truly carry it in the heart for the 
teacher, otherwise one will be deprived of knowledge. 

9 Do not raise objections against the hadith masters. 

I enumerated these briefly. Shahid has published my lectures on 
Bukhdrl which elaborate on the proprieties of the knowledge of Din. It is 
also to be found in Ap Bitl in more detail. Another one of the proprieties 
relates to clothing and appearance. In this particular etiquette, I made sure 
to emphasize the importance of the beard. Anyone with a trimmed beard 
could not enter my class and study hadith from me. One of the student 
who trimmed his beard was registered to attend my hadith classes. I told 
him I had removed his name from the attendance list of my Abu Ddwud 
class. In the first exam, his name appeared on every teacher's attendance 
list except in my Abu. Ddwud class. The dean thought it had probably been 
erased absentmindedly He called me to ask about it. I happened to be 
in the exam room at the time. I told him the student's name hadn't been 
removed forgetfully, but that I had done it because he trimmed his beard. 
The rule was that teachers were not allowed to remove names from the at- 
tendance list, however, the love of my elders for me gave me the freedom 
to do as I deemed fit. If a student skipped my class I erased his name and 
told him, "I have erased your name, go to the dean and complain to him. 
I will talk to him myself." The love and affections of my elders for me had 
made me audacious. May Allah 0z grant all of them the highest rank in 
Paradise and forgive me for my shortcomings. 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

A year or two later, I received his letter requesting that, "I want to take 
bai'a with you." I replied, "You have already experienced what I am like. 
My elders, Shaikh Thanwl, Shaikh MadanI, and the successors of Shaikh 
Raipurl, are better than me and certainly of the highest order. Go and take 
bai'a on their hands." He then sent another letter saying, "You are the only 
one who can rectify the heart of a person as hardheaded as me." This ar- 
ticle has become more of an autobiography. The point was to mention that 
in my class debasing the four imams, the hadith masters, and the scholars 
was unforgivable. 


i Fatawd Ibn Taimiyya 20/239 

2 The hadith of Fatima bint Qais %, is a singular chain of transmission hadith, and 
though it is authenticated, it contradicts the explicit injunction of the ayas and other 
authentic hadith. For this reason, the hadith is rejected. 

3 Badhl al-Majhud^l '322 

4 One of the original works which compiled the rulings of Imam Malik. 

5 Badhl al-Majhud 5/137 

6 al-Mughni 1/25 

7 Musannaflbn Abi Shaiba, 8/163 I Matalib al-'Aliyya, Bab Waslyyat al-Ndfi'a 


Chapter Eight 


As previously mentioned, Jibra'll ^ came to the Blessed Prophet j§s 
and asked him, "What is ihsan?" The Blessed Prophet j§i replied: 

That you worship Allah jig; as if you see Him. 

Tasawwuf is another name for ihsan or, one may say, the acquisition 
of the attribute of ihsan. It is also called Tasawwuf and Suluk or whatever 
else you may call it. These are merely different names of the same thing. 

My grandfather, Shaikh Muhammad Ismail Kandhelwl requested 
Shaikh Rashid Ahmad Gangohl, "I need to talk to you in private." When 
they were alone he said, "I am a [spiritual] student of Shaikh Muhammad 
Ya'qub Dehlawl and a student of Shaikh Muzaffar Hussain Kandhelwl. 
They taught me according to the Naqshbandl method. When I ap- 
plied the method, my six spiritual ethereal points [of the soul] [al-latd'if 
al-sitta] 1 began turning like a spinning wheel. But I was eager to follow 
the Sunnas of the Blessed Prophet j§& and was diligent in reading au- 
thentic supplications [dua] from the ahadith e.g. the supplication when 
entering and exiting the bathroom or going to the bazaar, etc. This is why 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

I had little interest for the practices devised by the spiritual mentors. I 
would sometimes meditate for ten or fifteen days, but nothing more. This 
is my situation and now I am weak and ask that you prescribe for me cer- 
tain spiritual practices." Shaikh Gangohi said, "Have you achieved ihsan 
through your own practices or not?" He replied, "Yes, I have." Shaikh 
Gangohi replied, "Then you don't need to be prescribed anything because 
practicing the different practices of the sufis after attaining ihsan is like 
reading Karlma [i.e., an introductory Persian text] after reading Gulistdn 
and Bostan [two advanced Persian texts] which is obviously a waste of 
time. Getting into the practices and exercises of the sufis for you is sinful 
and a waste of time." 2 

I have heard from my elders and also from Shaikh Gangohi that, 
"What if one who has memorized the Quran said, 'Teach me the Arabic al- 
phabet because I have not read it?" Shaikh Gangohi says in another place: 

The power of the Blessed Prophet's j§i spirituality was such that 
once a disbeliever recited the testament of faith [shahada] he im- 
mediately attained the level of ihsan. One example of ihsan in the 
Companions $ft is that they said, 'How can we go to the bathroom 
and denude ourselves before our Lord?' This was a manifestation 
of their ihsan. They were not in need of spiritual exertions \mu- 
jahaddt] and exhaustive meditative devotions [asghdl] because they 
had achieved ihsan by the blessing of the Blessed Prophet's J§s com- 
pany. But their level of ihsan was much less than the ihsan of the 
Blessed Prophet jfk, and likewise the ihsan of the First Successors 
was less than the ihsan of the Companions 5tt. Soon enough, the 
level of ihsan achieved in the era of the Second Successors became 
so weak that the spiritual masters were forced to devise exhaustive 
meditative devotions to revive this aspect of Din and prevent its 
further decline. 

For a while, these devotions were no more than means to achieve a 
noble objective, but as we moved away from the golden era, they became 
ends unto themselves. As the devotions evolved and were improvised with 
the times, innovations of different kinds [doctrinal, practical etc.] slowly 
made their way into this science of Din. Though the most eminent spiri- 
tual masters destroyed many of these innovations, they were unable to 
eliminate them entirely. Shaikh specifically took the names of Shaikh Abd 
al-Qadir JilanI, Shaikh Shihab al-Dln Suhrawardl, Mujaddid Alf-e-ThanI, 



and Sayyid Ahmad Shahld as some of the spiritual masters who struggled 
hard to weed out all the innovations from Tasawwuf but who were unsuc- 
cessful in doing so. 


Shaikh Gangohi also said, "Allah 0i unveiled the path of the Sunna to 
them." He said: 

One of the blessings of the Sunna is that Satan has little oppor- 
tunity to deviate those who adhere to the Sunna. It is understood 
that if a person is strict upon the things the Blessed Prophet empha- 
sized throughout his life e.g. the congregational salat [jamd'a], the 
obligatory acts [faraid], necessary acts [wdjibat] and the emphasized 
Sunnas, Satan cannot inject arrogance in his heart. Such a person 
will neither begin to exalt himself and think of himself a friend of 
Allah 00. nor will others think he is great and exalted. But if one 
becomes steadfast on the practices which the Blessed Prophet j& 
performed occasionally e.g. pre-noon salat [duha], post-sunrise salat 
[ishraq], or voluntary salat after Maghrib [aw wabin] he then becomes 
arrogant and people also begin to think something of him. 

During this speech Shaikh Gangohi also said, "The Blessed 
Prophet Jp specified ihsan as the sole objective [of Tasawwuf] while the 
sufis take spiritual absorption [istighrdq] as its final objective." 

Note what Shaikh Thanwl writes in the footnote of Arwahe-e- Thalatha: 

'Imam Bukharl narrated in Kitab al-Tafsir from Ibn Abbas ^ that 
people were ashamed of exposing the area of the body which one 
is obligated to cover [satr] even in private and when going to their 
women. At that time, the aya was revealed, 'Beware when they cover 
up themselves with their clothes, He knows what they hide and what i 
exposed Instead, the sufis* [are not ashamed] . . . 

*Footnote: I [Shaikh Thanwl] say: this is a reference only to the 
ignorant sufis.' 


Sharj'a &TarJqa 

I have written in the beginning that Tasawwuf and ihsan were one and 
the same thing in the opinion of my elders and that ihsan is one essential 
aspect of the divine Shari'a. This topic is covered extensively in the writ- 
ings of the elders. 

Shaikh Mujaddid also emphasized this in his letters. I have also pub- 
lished three of his letters. The first letter is lengthy which is addressed to 
the sons of his spiritual mentor, Shaikh Khawaja BaqI Billa. It is worth 
reading. He writes: 

Attainment of purification is based on the fulfillment of good deeds 
that achieve the pleasure of Allah 0* which also rests on the sending 
of prophets. Therefore, without the sending of prophets, true purifi- 
cation is not attainable; and the purification which the disbelievers 
and wretched people achieve is not really purification of the heart 
but purification of the lower self. One who achieves purification of 
the lower self is destroyed and deviated. The clairvoyance [kashf] 
which some of the disbelievers and wretched people see after attain- 
ing purification of the lower self are delusions [istidraj]. 

After writing on the importance of rectifying the beliefs, he says: 

After rectification of beliefs, one must learn the rules of fiqh. It is also 
important to learn the necessary acts, the obligatory acts, the lawful 
[balal] and unlawful, the Sunna, the desirable [mandub], the ques- 
tionable [mushtaba], and undesirable [makruh], and to practice the 
Din according to the requirements of fiqh. Once one has acquired 
the two branches of beliefs and fiqh then, if Allah 0i permits, there 
is also the path of the sufis. 

Suluk is not independent of fiqh and beliefs. It is to establish 
a certainty of heart and firmness of belief that protects one against 
doubtfulness when he is put in doubt and which protects against the 
destruction of faith if one becomes doubtful of his belief. Another 
benefit of Suluk is that it puts ease in performing good deeds, and 
eliminates lassitude and rebelliousness which stem from the lower 
self that incites to evil. It is not of the objectives of this path that 
different celestial forms and shapes of the unseen appear before him 



or so that illuminations [anwar] and colors [alwan] become [spiritu- 
ally] perceptible. They are only diversions and foolery of the material 
world. In fact, if one performs meditative devotions to attain such 
things, he puts himself in severe danger; and this is because these vi- 
sions, openings into the unseen, and lights are like us: only creations. 
They do nothing more than prove [as all creation does] the existence 
of Allah (!§>. 

I said in the very beginning that the first thing Jibra'll £*B taught 
was faith [i.e. beliefs], then Islam [i.e. deeds], and then ihsan [i.e. Suluk]. 
Shaikh Mujaddid mentions these three in the same order in his aforemen- 
tioned letter. 

In letter thirty-six, he writes: 

The Shari'a guarantees success of the material world and the Hereaf- 
ter, and Tasawwuf is a vehicle of this Shari'a. 

He also says: 

The Shari'a is made up of three integrals: knowledge, deeds, and 
sincerity [ikhlas]. Until these three are not established [in the life 
of a Muslim] the Shari'a is not established. Once the Shari'a is es- 
tablished, the pleasure of Allah J& is guaranteed. This pleasure of 
Allah 0z is superlative and above and beyond the successes of the 
material world and the Hereafter. 

And Allah's Jgj pleasure is above all} 

Thus, the Shari'a guarantees success of the material world and the 
Hereafter. Now [we know] that there is no objective higher than ad- 
herence to the Shari'a and that one should not depend on anything 
else [to achieve salvation]. The sufis excel in Tasawwuf and haqiqa; 
they perform the completion of the third branch of sincerity. The 
purpose of the completion of this branch is for no other purpose 
than to achieve completion of the Shari'a. It is not for the purpose of 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

temporal spiritual states [abwal] and gnosis of Allah 0i which the 
sufis often acquire during their journey on this path. In fact, these 
two things are like the feelings beginners experience when they start 
their journey on the path of Tasawwuf. It is important to ignore 
all these things and move on to where one attains the pleasure of 
Allah 0i because attainment of the pleasure of Allah .0* is where 
the journey of Suluk and jadhb culminates. This is because the pur- 
pose of covering the different steps of Tasawwuf is to achieve total 
sincerity and nothing else, and attaining the pleasure of Allah Jg* is 
intrinsic to sincerity. 

Of the thousands of seekers, few are actually taken through vi- 
sions and spiritual manifestations before they reach the wealth of 
sincerity and the pleasure of Allah 0i. Shortsighted people take the 
temporal spiritual states as objectives and the attainment of spiritual 
manifestations and clairvoyance as worthy causes. Such people are 
imprisoned in their superstitions and are deprived of practice upon 
the entire Shari'a. Though, this much is true that these temporal 
states, the celestial knowledge and the gnosis of Allah 0i, are in- 
terwoven with the acquisition of sincerity and the attainment of the 
pleasure of Allah Jig*. In this way, they [temporal states, celestial 
knowledge, and gnosis of Allah 0f\ are passages to the attainment 
of the true objective. 

This reality and the status which the Shari'a is most deserving of be- 
came transparent to me [Shaikh al-Hadith Muhammud Zakariyya], by 
the blessings of the Blessed Prophet j§i, after ten years in this path. 

Though I was never overwhelmed by temporal and ecstatic states 
[maivdjid], and I never thought much of anything besides attainment of 
the Shari'a, the truth [of the above reality that clairvoyances and spiri- 
tual states are not the objective — the only objective is practicing upon the 
Shari'a] became manifest to me after ten years. 

I am grateful to Allah 0p. that my response to Shaikh Hablb al- 
Rahman's [leader of the Ahrar party] 6 question 7 about the reality of Tasaw- 
wuf was the same, that: Tasawwuf is rectification of the intention [niyya] 
as has already been mentioned in detail in Ap BltJ. s Many other incidents 
of this kind have also been narrated in Ap Bitl. 

Khawaja Muhammad Ma'sum [son of Mujadid Alf-e-Thanl] in his 
letters also emphasized the importance of making the sole objective, 
achievement of the pleasure of Allah 0z. In letter sixty, he writes, 



Achievement of friendship with Allah $fr [wilaya] 9 is by adherence 
to the Shari'a while achievement of the highest level in the path of 
prophethood is by adherence to the essence of the Shari'a. Thus, 
there is no concept of friendship with Allah 0i and achievement 
of the highest level in the path of prophethood outside the realm 
of Shari'a. 

In letter # n, he writes: 

After rectification of the beliefs, adherence to the correct opinion 
[derived from the Quran and Sunna] is extremely important. Fur- 
thermore, there is no shortcut from performing the obligatory and 
necessary acts and preventing oneself from the unlawful acts. Islam 
is based on five pillars. If any one of these five pillars is demolished, 
the house of Din will become weak and insecure. After rectification 
of the beliefs and practice of Din, it is also necessary to traverse the 
path of the sufis in order to gain gnosis of the truth and to be saved 
from the harmfulness of the prurient desires of the lower self. I don't 
understand how a person can live who is deprived of the gnosis of 
Allah 0i and is incognizant of Him, and how he endears himself to 
[material] things. 

In another letter, he writes: 

Brother Mulla Hasan has a question he wants addressed about some- 
thing I wrote in my letter to 'Ubaid Allah Baig. His question is 
that the Shari'a defines right from wrong; therefore, he remembers 
reading somewhere that Tasawwuf is about goodwill with everyone, 
whereas the Shari'a is dislike of the enemy and friendship toward the 
friend. What a despicable question. Since when is there a difference 
between the Shari'a and Tasawwuf and since when were they coun- 
terparts? The Shari'a is founded on divine revelation, there is neither 
doubt nor any adulteration in its laws and it will remain as such until 
the Day of Judgment. 

Everyone is obligated to follow the Shari'a, be it majority or mi- 
nority. Tasawwuf does not have the audacity to abrogate the laws of 
the Shari'a and free its followers from following them. One of the 
most firm beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama'a is that no one, 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

while conscious and sober, can reach a level that frees him from ad- 
herence to the commandments of the Shari'a. Whoever believes any 
different has left the fold of Islam. [A person] Befriending one who is 
a known enemy of Allah 0i and who is subject to the harshest ruling 
of the Shari'a, has left the folds of Islam. Befriending the enemies 
of Allah jgjjgi and then claiming love for Allah 0i and his Blessed 
Prophet j§* are contrary to each other because adherence to the be- 
loved and befriending the friends of the beloved while hatred towards 
the enemies of the beloved are the requirements of love. This much 
can be said that on occasion something may appear amongst the 
spiritual students that opposes the Quran and Sunna. At that time, 
the seeker should not break off from the Shari'a, but rather hold to it 
even stronger. He should do taqlid of the imams and adhere to their 
practices and beliefs while ignoring his own intuition [wijdan] and 
clairvoyances. Sometimes, the worthless ones of the path of Suluk 
declare, 'Surely, I am Allah 0i.' Such deviants misguide the naive 
seeker from the loftiest objectives towards worship of themselves. At 
this time, it is necessary for the true seeker to declare as Ibrahim jg£ 
did when he said, 'I like not those that disappear.' He should race 
through the savannah of the unseen [i.e. do not get preoccupied with 
his clairvoyances, the spiritual manifestations, celestial shapes and 
colors, etc.] towards the Creator in spirit of the aya: 

** s '* s 


I have, indeed, turned my face straight towards the One who created 
the heavens and the earth, and I am not one of those who associate 
partners with Allah 0&. 10 

He should follow the Blessed Prophet j§i completely so that he is not 
deviated by the vagaries of creation." 

In this letter, Shaikh Khawaja is pointing to an incident that is men- 
tioned in Ap Bltl with reference from Shaikh Qasim Nanautwl in the book 
Arwah-e-Thalatha. There was a famous spiritual mentor by the name of 
Khawaja Ahmad Jam whose every supplication was accepted [mustajab 



al-da'wat]. One woman brought her blind child to him and said, "Wipe 
your hands over his face and repair his sight." At the time, he was over- 
whelmed by the state of servitude to Allah $jfr ['ubudiyya]. He humbly said, 
"I cannot do such a thing." She insisted but he again declined. This went 
on three or four times until when he saw that she wouldn't listen, he stood 
up and left saying, "This was the miracle of Isa *s&; he cured the blind and 
healed the lepers. I can do no such thing." He had not walked far when he 
received a divine inspiration [ilham] that, "Who are you, who is Isa *§E and 
who is Musa $0. Go back and wipe your hand over his face. You cannot 
cure, nor can Isa ^E, ma mi kunaim (We do it)." He began uttering the 
words 'ma ml kunaim, ma mi kunaim repeatedly. He wiped his hand over 
the child's face and his blindness was repaired. 

After narrating this incident, Shaikh Nanautwl said, "Stupid people 
think it was his words though it was actually the words of Allah 0*. When 
the poet sings a couplet, the listener hymns it in delight. Likewise, the 
words of Allah Jgs 'ma mi kunaim' put him in a spiritual state of ecstasy 
and he repeated it over and over again [in delight]." 

Shaikh Thanwl writes in the footnote of Shaikh Qasim Nanautwl's 
comment, "It was the words of Allah $£•," "I say, this is the best explana- 
tion of Mansur Hallaj's 12 declaration, 'Ana al-Haqq,' [I am 

The purpose of writing all of the aforementioned is that a person should 
only be concerned with himself. One should not criticize others and find 
faults in them, especially in the pious elders, scholars, and spiritual masters. 
One should not be critical about their actions and statements. None is to 
be followed in anything against the Shari'a, but at the same time we are 
not responsible for their actions and utterances. 14 


In another letter, Shaikh Khawaja writes: 

One should strive vigorously to fulfill the commandments of the 
Shari'a. He should make enjoining the good and forbidding the evil 
his habit and nature. He should think it an exalted mission to revive 
the extinct Sunnas of the Blessed Prophet j& and make a concerted 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

effort to suppress the descent of every spiritual meaning [warid] after 
it descends into his heart. He should not rely on dreams and things 
seen during spiritually heightened states. Nothing happens from see- 
ing oneself a king or the hierarch [qutb] of the sufis of his time in his 
dream. A true hierarch of the sufis or king is one who is in reality a 
king or a hierarch of the sufis. And even if one becomes a king and 
this whole world his kingdom, the punishment of the world and the 
Hereafter will not be waived for him. 

People with vigor and people of strength do not care for such 
things; they remain focused only on achieving the pleasure of 
Allah Jgs. They focus all their effort and exhaust themselves in 
achieving the pleasure of Allah .Jgs, selflessness, and the descent of 
perpetual spiritual meanings into the heart [that are the fruits of at- 
taining a perpetual state]. I hope from friends like yourself that you 
will not forget this sinful one and will ask for the mercy, forgiveness, 
and pleasure of Allah 0i for him [referring to himself]. 15 

In another letter, he writes: 

Due to the increased distance in time between the Blessed 
Prophet Ja and ourself and also the closeness of our time to the 
Day of Judgment, innovations are increasing and their darkness is 
engulfing the world. The Sunnas have become scarce and their light 
is fading away. It is important that we strive vigorously to revive 
the extinct Sunnas, spread the knowledge of the Shari'a and under- 
stand that the true meaning of the revival of the Sunnas is attain- 
ment of the pleasure of Allah Jga and also closeness to the Blessed 
Prophet Jp. It is mentioned in the hadith that whosoever revives 
a Sunna which has waned in practice will receive the reward of a 
hundred martyrs. The first step in reviving a Sunna is to practice it 
oneself, then to spread it and encourage others to follow it. 16 

Shaikh Thanwl writes in Tdlim al-Dln: 

'Rectification of the false belief that following the Shari'a is not im- 
portant for becoming a Sufi' is originally from the book Futuhat 
Makkia [by Ibn Arabi] in which it also says, Anything that oppos- 
es the reality of the Shari'a is falsehood.' It says in another place, 



'Whosoever says there is another path to Allah ^g» besides the Shari'a 
is a liar. Therefore, such a person should not be chosen to be one's 
spiritual mentor who does not have propriety.' It also says, 'There is 
no way for us except the Shari'a and that which He has taught us in 
the Shari'a.' Shaikh Bayazld Bustami says, 'Do not be fooled if you 
observe a person bestowed with supernatural wonders [karamat] even 
if he flies in the sky, unless you see him strict upon the laws of the 
Shari'a, upon avoiding the forbidden acts, and vigilant about staying 
within the boundaries of the Shari'a.' Shaikh Junaid says, 'All the 
different avenues are closed to the world except the one which fol- 
lows the Blessed Prophet Jp every step of the way' In another place 
in Futubat it says, 'He has no worth in the eyes of Allah 0i who does 
not know His rule [the Shari'a] because Allah 0i has never made any 
ignorant person a friend.' It also says in Futubat, 'It is better to com- 
mit a vulgar act with knowledge than in ignorance.' 

Shaikh Thanwl says, "This is because if a scholar utters something 
offensive, it will not reach the extent of disbelief. Since he is aware of it 
being offensive, he will most likely repent. On the other hand, an ignorant 
person sometimes will perform even necessary worship incorrectly and 
perpetrate acts of disbelief unknowingly and will not be fortunate enough 
to repent because of being unaware of his wrongdoing." 

Shaikh Thanwl wrote at length on this topic in his book Ta'llm al-Dln. 


Once my father was bathing on a humid day and two or three of his 
students were pouring buckets of water over him. A man sitting nearby 
said, "Shaikh, isn't this wasteful [israf]?" He replied, "For you, not for me." 
The man said, "How is that possible?" My father replied, "Because I am 
a knower while you are ignorant. " I? The man then said, "Then it is true 
what is said that Maulvis 18 make everything permissible for themselves." 
My father said, "Absolutely! Maulvis defend themselves against this truth 
without reason. One thing will be impermissible because of the ignorance 
of the ignorant and at the same time permissible because of the knowledge 
of the knower." 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

Abu Said Khudrl $. narrates that Bilal ^ brought a basket full of 
inferior quality dates. The Blessed Prophet jfi asked, "Where did you get 
this from?" He replied, "I had some inferior quality dates; I exchanged two 
kilos of the inferior quality dates for one kilo of the premium ones." The 
Blessed Prophet Jp said, "Oh no, this is usury! Never do this! If you ever 
wish to buy like this again, first sell the inferior quality dates for a specific 
amount and then purchase the premium dates with that amount." 19 

It is obvious that an ignoramus will never see the difference. He would 
only understand that one kilo of premium dates were purchased with two 
kilos of inferior quality dates. A knower, however, will use the permissible 
way to make the purchase. For example, he will sell the inferior quality 
dates for two rupees and then use those two rupees to purchase one kilo 
of premium dates. 


Shaikh MadanI also stressed in his letters that the objective of Suluk is the 
attainment of ihsan only. In one letter, he says: 

"My respected brother! The real objective of Suluk is the attainment 
of ihsan: 

That you worship your Lord as if you see him 

And that is that the [spiritual] trait of perpetual consciousness of Al- 
lah 0z is born from Suluk. As far as the ultimate goal, it should be to 
attain the pleasure of Allah Jig*. 

One of the means of achieving the pleasure of Allah Jgs is to work 
diligently to inculcate true love for Allah 0t and to nurture that love 
to the extent that the heart extricates itself [from the love of] every- 
thing else. Likewise, all the methods, be it spiritual exertions or recti- 
fication of morals, are also means to achieve the pleasure of Allah ^. 
The earlier sufis gave priority to moral rectification; however, some- 
times a person dies before attaining spiritual closeness to Allah gjjjgi 
\wusul ila Allah] and as a result one is deprived of this great blessing, 



departing from this world before attaining this gift of Allah 0i. The 
later sufis, though, were more sagacious in their approach; they gave 
precedence to closeness to Allah 0i and concentrated on the essence 
of Allah 0*. In creating a stronger closeness to Allah Jgs, they helped 
produce the quality of perpetual consciousness of Allah J&. When 
it is done in the manner taught by the later sufis this quality of per- 
petual consciousness of Allah 0i becomes deeply entrenched in the 
heart and the evil traits dissipate. Anyhow, you should always be en- 
grossed in the essence of Allah 0gi, whether it is by engrossing oneself 
in the essence of Allah $$ or any one of His complete attributes, and 
maintain the state of, 'Those who are diligent in their salat.' 20 

It is only natural for a human to have shortcomings in his ac- 
tions, but it is his responsibility to make every effort to eliminate 
these shortcomings and to recite wa iyyaka nastdin (and we ask for 
help from you only) with sincerity. The Blessed Prophet jf&. said in 
one of his supplications: 

We did not worship You as was Your right" 

Thus, it is our responsibility to perpetually rectify our actions, 
purify our intentions, and repent to Allah Jgs because of the reality 
of our continuous shortcomings. While hoping for His mercy one 
should also always be fearful of His wrath because faith lies between 
fear and hope. Always, be constant in adhering to the Sunnas of 
the Blessed Prophet j§s in every situation. Although, you are not in 
need of the devotions it is better you continue those of the prescribed 
meditations [murdqaba] that you find more suitable for yourself in 
order to gain spiritual strength. Also, read al-Sirdt al-Mustaqim 22 and 
Imdad al-Suluk n often. 24 

In another long letter, Shaikh MadanI writes: 

Hold to the Sunnas of the Blessed Prophet J§s in your heart and in 
your sight as best as you can. Never be ignorant towards dhikr of 
Allah Jgs. Always be repentant to Allah Jg* for your ignorance and 
sins. Do not waste this precious time. 


Sharj'a &TarJqa 
In the next letter, he writes: 

Is it not true that you have left the prescribed devotions? When you 
become zealous you work hard for a month or two but then quit 
soon after. Is it not true that you are not punctual in the congre- 
gational salat? Is it not true that you miss Fajr in the morning and 
sleep until sunrise? Do these types of events in your life not hurt 
your well-wishers? Anyhow, it is important that you rectify your- 
self. Strive to adhere to the Sunnas of the Blessed Prophet J§s and 
revival of the Shari'a. When you face hardship then you remember 
Allah 0gz and when Allah J632 grants you ease and comfort, you be- 
come indifferent. Make the dhikr of Allah 0* your habit as much 
as you can. 

In another letter, he writes: 

The different spiritual states you wrote to me of are comforting and 
good, but steadfastness is better than miracles [al-istiqama fauq 
al-karama\. Dreams, illuminations, or divine inspirations are only to 
encourage the seeker and keep him steadfast [on the path of Suluk] 
like a toy that is given to a child to keep it occupied. The famous 
saying of the elders is: 

, i f , i , __ > , i 

They are toys by which the children of the path are raised. 25 

The only things required of us are worship, perpetual dhikr of 
Allah j$£t, adherence to the Sunna of the Blessed Prophet j§i, and fol- 
lowing the Shari'a. The completion of faith is based on steadfastness 
upon these requirements and attaining the level of ihsan. Fear and 
hope of Allah ^ga are two signs of the completion of faith. Weeping 
[buka'] and grief [huzn] are two spiritual qualities that are the unique 
traits of the Chishtiyya path. 26 


In the next letter, Shaikh MadanI writes: 

O Respected one! Hardships of the world are also His mercy, and it 
is through hardship that He brings His servant closer to Him, other- 
wise this person would become Pharaoh and Haman declaring ana 
rabbukum al-a'la [I am your great Lord]. The evidence of his rebel- 
liousness to Allah 0i is the aya: 

•>--•••' sf >• 

Should Allah 0* expand the provision for His servants [to its full ex- 
tent], they would spread msichief on earth; but He sends down what 
He wills in [due] measure. 27 

Allah 0i is continuously testing us, sometimes through riches 
and sometimes through hardship: 

f C St » > >s 

Ail? /-$>&' \j --iljlj . i ''y m 

We test you through bad and good. 2 * 

In another place, Allah Jga says: 

We tested them through good and bad situations. 29 

Thus, this world is a trial in which we are tested in different ways. 
We should make every effort to overcome these trials and should not 
enamor ourselves with anything but our Everlasting True Master. 
Make the correct intention for anything you do and it will become 
an act of worship. As the hadith says, 'Verily all actions are based on 
intentions.' Even your sleeping, eating, drinking, and the necessities 
[of life] can be converted into acts of worship. Any medium that 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

leads to an act of worship is also an an act of worship. The purpose of 
dhikr and cogitation [fikr] is only to attain the pleasure of Allah 0z. 
Fulfillment of a desire, purification of the heart, gaining the powers 
of clairvoyance and supernatural wonders, experiencing the blessings 
and illuminations, attainment of the passing away of the self [fand] 
or subsistence [baqd], rising to the hierarchy of the sufis [qutubiyya 
or gauthiyya] are all subjective and not the objective. To aim for these 
things and to make them one's goal is dangerous. 

All the above mentioned experiences and states are only medi- 
ums. The only true objective is the pleasure of Allah Jga. It is the 
goal of the servant to achieve total servitude to Allah 0i. Be strong 
and strive on this path and keep in mind the goal of sincerity and 
servitude to Allah 0i. 3 ° 

In another letter, he writes: 

This lifetime and its every second are precious gems. We are wasting 
them in our ignorance and nothing will come of this except regret 
and grief for our actions. And what is to happen when we are asked: 

/ > >' 

Did We not give you an age in your life in which lesson could have 
been learnt by the one who wished to take lesson? And [furthermore] 
the warner had [also] come to you. So, have a taste, because the 
wrongdoers will have no supporter? 1 

My respected friend, wasting this time because of your friends and 
loved ones is such a foolish mistake. Ponder on this and try to un- 
derstand the importance of this matter. This frivolity and merriment 
seem exciting, but at the time of death and after, one will be cursing 
these a thousand times over. Try as much as possible to abstain from 
such wasteful and petty pastimes: 



Your riches and your children must not divert you from the remem- 
brance of Allah 0*. 3Z 

Ponder upon this: 

„ 1 1. If I } I 

' X > KiP ii-'. I'^Ki^I-^ii.I^'ii-^ •< -'fi-' iKu 

Wealth and children are the embellishment of the worldly life, and the 
everlasting virtues are better with your Lord, both in rewards and in 
creating good hopes? 3 

Do not ignore these ayas. This period of youth and good health are 
great blessings that you must not allow to go to waste. Every second 
is an opportunity for you to return to Allah ^gt. If you don't care 
about any of this, then it is your own loss. Do not waste these pre- 
cious moments and do not allow heedlessness to grow in the city of 
your soul: 

'Two blessings of Allah Jgj in which many people are at a loss: health 
and freetime. 34 ' 

Value this time and continue with the inhalatant-exhalant exercise 
[pas anfas — inhaling with the name of Allah 0z and exhaling with 
hu] until it becomes involuntary the heart remembers Allah 0i per- 
petually and the path of Suluk is traversed. 35 


Sharj'a &TarIqa 

The spiritual masters have articulated in their writings that the only ob- 
jective of this path is attaining ihsan. The different exercises and tedious 
devotions which the sufis designed are for sicknesses of the heart. It is 
similar to the various sicknesses and diseases of the physical body which 
physicians and traditional healers seek to cure by prescribing new medica- 
tions. Just as no one calls their latest treatments innovations, likewise it 
is our misunderstanding of this field to call the treatments of the sufis 
innovations. They are not objectives, but treatments for specific illnesses 
of the heart. 

Ibn Taimiyya wrote extensively on the actions of the heart in his book- 
let, al-Tuhfat al-'Iraqiyya ft al-A'mal al-Qalbiyya. He says: 

These few words elucidate the actions of the heart which are called 
temporal spiritual states and perpetual spiritual states. They are the 
pillars and foundation of Din, such as: love for Allah Jgja and his 
Blessed Prophet |p, dependence on Allah 0a [tawakkul], sincerity, 
gratitude [shukr], patience [sabr], fear of Allah 0a [khauf], hope in 
Allah 0a [raja] etc. The attainment of all these attributes is obliga- 
tory upon the community; and there is no difference of opinion in 
this matter. 

There are three types of people in relation to the inner qualities 
as there are three types in relation to the actions of the physical body: 

1 The transgressor [zalim] 

2 The moderate [muqtasid] 

3 The exceller in good [sdbiq bi al-khairat\ 

The transgressor is one who neglects the orders of Allah and 
commits forbidden acts. The moderate is one who fulfills the orders 
of Allah and avoids forbidden acts. The exceller is one who strives 
to his utmost to gain nearness to Allah ^&. He is not content with 
fulfilling the necessary acts and avoiding the forbidden acts only, but 
also strives to perform all the Sunnas and desirables and to avoid all 
the undesirables. Though the exceller commits sins, he is forgiven 
either by repentance, good deeds, or trials and tribulations. Both the 
moderate and the exceller are amongst the friends of Allah 0z who 
are mentioned in the following aya of the Qur'an: 


*" * 


Listen, the friends of Allah 0i shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve ? b 

Therefore, the believers and God-fearing are the friends of 
Allah Jgs. Then, the God-fearing are of two types: the general and 
the special. The general are the moderates and the special are the 
excellers in good. 

After this, Ibn Taimiyya wrote a short treatise on the actions of the 
heart. He wrote about truth and falsehood and that love of Allah $jfr, 
sincerity towards Him, reliance on Him, pleasing Him, and other ac- 
tions of the heart of this kind are obligatory. He then talks at length 
about reliance on Allah 0z, of the obligations of Din, and that love of 
Allah $jfc and love of the Blessed Prophet Jg are essential. Furthermore, 
he talks about the one who loves Allah $gz, the attributes of those who 
are loved by Him, and that the basis of love of Allah 0i is adherence 
to His Din. He explains that hope and fear of Allah Jga are both the 
substance of faith and narrates the sayings of the sufis and earlier sages 
[qudama] about the love of Allah ^&. One of the manifestations of the 
love of Allah ,0z is adherence to the Sunna of the Blessed Prophet J|s and 
that adherence to the Blessed Prophet j§i will exoterically and esoterically 
build love of Allah 0». He talks about this last point in detail. It is a 
book worth reading. 

Ibn Qayyim, in al-Wabil al-Sayyib min al-Kalam al-Tayyib 37 , states the 
conditions for being a mentor. One of them is that if a person wants to 
make bai'a with a mentor, he should first investigate whether the person 
is amongst the people who lives in the remembrance of Allah 0* and is 
not amongst the heedless ones. He should be strict on the Sunna, not a 
follower of the self, and should be cautious in his matters. If such a spiri- 
tual mentor is met, he should hold onto him tightly. He then narrates the 
habit of Ibn Taimiyya that, "Once, I went to my mentor. He sat after 
praying Fajr salat, doing the dhikr of Allah $& until midday. He said to 
me, 'This dhikr is my breakfast in the morning. If I do not eat this food I 
will become weak; and I only avoid dhikr to give myself breath for dhikr 
at another time. " 

Another one of Ibn Qayyim's books, Madarij al-Salikin, is also on 
Tasawwuf. It is a commentary of the classic text on Tasawwuf, Manazil 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

al-Salikin, by Shaikh Abu Ismail 'Abd Allah Harawl Hanball [1088 C.E.]. 
All the discussions in this book are on Tasawwuf. He writes: 

Servitude of a human is divided into branches: the heart, the tongue, 
and the other limbs. The essentials of the heart are: sincerity, reliance 
on Allah 0i, love, patience, fear and hope, true and strong belief, 
and purity of intention... It is the consensus of the community [in 
general] that these actions of the heart are obligatory. 

After this, he mentions the actions of the heart upon which the schol- 
ars disagree: 

Contentment [as opposed to patience which is obligatory] upon a 
tribulation is disagreed upon as to whether it is obligatory [and in 
this respect there are two opinions: the opinion of the jurists and the 
opinion of the sufis]... and another thing upon which they disagree 
is concentration [khushu] in salat. [Their disagreement is composed 
of two opinions on whether the salat will be repeated if one is over- 
come by satanic whispers [waswds] in salat]. 

He also talks about the two types of prohibitions [muharramdt]: dis- 
belief and sin: 

The example of disbelief is: doubtfulness, hypocrisy, paganism, etc. 
Sins are of two types: major and minor. Major: ostentation, vanity, 
arrogance, haughtiness, despair in the mercy of Allah 0i, to be fear- 
less of the punishment of Allah 0z, to gain pleasure from seeing other 
Muslims in anguish, to express one's satisfaction at seeing a Muslim 
in turmoil, to desire for the spread of promiscuity amongst Muslims, 
to be jealous of Muslims, and other sins which are more heinous than 
observable major sins like fornicating and drinking alcohol. 

Without repentance to Allah 0i, the heart cannot be purified of 
such spiritual evils. If one does not repent, the heart will be severely 
corrupted, and when the heart is corrupted, the whole body in turn 
will be corrupted. Purification of the heart precedes purification of 
the body, and if the heart is not purified it will be deprived of every- 
thing that is in a purified heart. 



Ibn Qayyim speaks at length on this subject. We should know that the 
spiritual masters of Tasawwuf put their students through spiritual exer- 
tions to help them attain this purification of heart. 


Shaikh Mlratl writes in his biography of Shaikh Rashld Ahmad Gangohl, 
Tadhkirat al-Rashld, "I found a note in which Shaikh Gangohl had scrib- 
bled something. He wrote it some time in his early years for some un- 
known reason. He wrote: 

? s si i i a > ? .- a a 

l^ili- l JsH\ p*SI jij jIIJl tjfi'j lUsl)' j l^»\ls> ji*^l iU- <fyt&\ ilp 

i , C , i f, , , , ,,i a ,i 

jU2l iSy*S\ <^f (J^i <Cftl ,J) jliuiVl iljij 39^Vl r-SCsl 
U j (vJiflP ,jU- jjuil liJj] Al»ii »$MJ1 j »SCa.SI <ulp <uL>- jJ> U iJJ9 wall 

^a^ 'is J £ s / / /ft/ 

j ^JaP 6yj ^Js- ^-j ^y *U\*lM — ^Uil Jp ^i'il Jlll>4 j 

a ' a > > 'a^ ^a^a^^ ^ a ,- ^a a^ x 

/A>JI Oy&- (V -xiij.* j /y><^ , <*p A.».t,J'il ijju j Co jfl j Su^l^JI J&*?' 
aSj^LSI —ijl^j *>ySI 235^1* jj^iiil —jj li«3l — Sjl^tUl — AjWjia*- lp 

a^^ ^a ^^a i^J } • > ' > 

a a ^ s^^- s^ a -J sis j £ £ / 

6 / a a J- s 6 a y C i* l } / £ 


Sharj'a &TarJqa 

>/ >t>* /,.>./:, ... /' . , :, . " \,>>. a ' 

[Translation] The science of the sufis is the esoteric, exoteric knowl- 
edge of Din and strength of belief; and this is the greatest of sciences. 
The way of the sufis is perfecting their morals and perpetual ab- 
sorption in Allah 0z. The essence of Tasawwuf is to be embellished 
with the meanings of the attributes [sifdt] of Allah 0i [as humanly 
as possible], to eliminate the will of the self, and have a perpetual 
infatuation to please Allah Jig*. The morals of the sufis are the same 
as the Blessed Prophet's Jps as mentioned in the Quran, 'And you are 
surely on an excellent standard of character.^ All that is mentioned 
in the ahadith is also inclusive of the morals of the sufis. Below is a 
description of the morals of the sufis: 

■y- To think lowly of oneself and this is the opposite of arrogance 

■v - To be compassionate to the creation of Allah J& and to 
overlook the transgressions of the creation against oneself 

■v - To treat others with kindness and warmth and to avoid 

■$■ To sympathize with others and to prefer them over oneself 
because of one's overwhelming love for them; in essence, to 
favor the rights of others over one's own rights 

"v" To be generous 

■$■ To forgive others and to overlook their mistakes 

■$■ To be sanguine and cheerful 

"v- To be soft-spoken 

■$■ To avoid ostentation 

■y- To spend without stinginess and to avoid overspending such 

that one becomes needy 
■$■ Reliance on the Creator 

"v* To be content with whatever little one possesses of the mate- 
rial world 

"v* To be austere 



■$■ To avoid arguments and altercations and to avoid criticizing 
another unless it is with truth 

■$■ To avoid jealousy or hatred of another 

■$■ To fulfill promises 

"$■ Forbearance 

■$■ To have insight 

"v- To love fellow Muslims and have good relations with them 
and to avoid others 

"v" To be grateful when someone does a favor 

■$■ To exhaust oneself for the good of other Muslims 

The moral character [akblaq] of the sufi is achieved through his pu- 
rification of the inner and the outer and Tasawwuf is the name of 
propriety. Propriety towards the Creator is turning away from every- 
one but Him out of awe and fear of His might. The worst of sins is 
to converse with the lower self [hadlth al-nafs], as it spreads darkness 
over the heart. 


i The six spiritual essences of the soul occupy different locations on the physical body. 
The Naqshbandiyya teach meditation of the name of Allah jgj in the six essences. 
After considerable time and practice, the six essences are rejuvenated with the 
remembrance of Allah jgs. This may at times, result in involuntary and unprovoked 
pulsation of the body. This pulsation is the dhikr of the physical body which has 
been infused with the constant remembrance of Allah jgs and is being described as 
"turning like the spinning wheel." 

2 Arwah-e-Thaliitha, p. 299 

3 ":5 

4 Ahmad ibn Abd al-Ahad Sarhindi [971/1034] — His title was 'Mujaddid Alf-e-Thdm' 
[Reviver of the Second Millenium]. His reformist nature began to show at an early 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

stage in his life. After mastering the Islamic sciences at the age of seventeen, he wrote 
two books, both of which quelled the two controversies that was dividing Muslims 
at the time. The first was on the proof of prophethood and the second against the 
dominating minority, the twelver Shiites. After his father passed away, he travelled 
to Delhi and made bai'a with the shaikh of the Naqshbandiyya path, Khawaja Baqi 
Billa. His mentor, granted him successorship soon after, and informed him of the 
[perpetual] spiritual states he will achieve in life. 

His most famous work is his collection of letters, the Maktubat, to his spiritual 
students in three volumes. These letters became the catalyst which helped secure the 
place of Islam in the Indian subcontinent saving it from obliteration. 

In these letters, the shaikh reconstructed the theory of the divine existential 
unity of Allah and the world [wahdat al-wujiid] into the concept of the unity of vision 
[wahdat al shuhud]. Through this, Shaikh Ahmad was able to save Tasawwuf from 
the pseudo-Sufis who tried to create heresy through the sufistic concept of the divine 
existential unity of Allah and the world. The letters also helped prepare the downfall 
of the religion founded by the Moghul king, Akbar and his syncretistic tendencies 
that became the cornerstone of his doctrine, 'Din-i-Ilahi' [Religion of God]. They 
also broke the stranglehold of Shiite influence upon the subcontinent and revived 
Sunni Islam. These letters, in other words, sum up the life and struggle of Shaikh 
Ahmad Sirhindi against the unrelenting forces that threatened to wipe out Islam in 
the Indian subcontinent; and this is precisely why he is called 'Reviver of the Second 
Millenium.' [ See Hadrat Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani, Sayyid Zawwar Hussain Shah] 

5 97 2 

6 A political party in India at the time 

7 This refers to an incident that took place in the early years of Shaikh Zakariyya's 
life. Shaikh Habib al-Rahman once stopped over at Saharanpur to debate with 
Shaikh Zakariyya about Tasawwuf. He asked, "I have a quick question. You can 
chew over it and save the answer for when I return from Raipur. What is this thing 
called Tasawwuf?" Shaikh Zakariyya responded spontaneously, "It begins with 'all 
actions are based on intentions and ends with attainment of ihsan." Shaikh Habib 
stood dumbfounded for a few seconds then finally said, "I had come prepared with 
many arguments that if you say this I will say such and such and if you say that, I 
will say this, but your answer has left me dumbstruck." Shaikh Zakariyya replied, 

"you can spend your whole life searching for an answer, but I assure you that you 
won't find one." 

8 Autobiography of Shaikh Zakariyya 

9 The path of friendship [with Allah jgs] and the path of prophethood are two 
different spiritual programs for achieving ihsan. Both the path of friendship and 
prophethood require strict adherence to the Shari'a, the main difference being that 
the path of friendship also incorporates spiritual exertions and devotions into its 
program. Though, most people are taken through the path of friendship, some who 
are not suited to this path are taken through the path of prophethood. An example 
of this is given in the chapter on visualization of the mentor. 

io 6:79 



ii Maktubat Khawaja Muhammad Ma 'sum, p. 121 

12 A Sufi who was condemned and executed for saying, "Ana al-Haqq, " though it was 
uttered in a spiritually intoxicated state. 

13 Ap Bin, 5/197 

14 Ibid, 5/198 

15 Maktubat Khawaja Muhammad Ma' sum, p. 174 

16 Ibid, p. 290 

17 The ruling is that if one uses water to gain coolness from hot weather he may use as 
much water as necessary to gain coolness. But if he is bathing he may not use more 
than the amount required in Shari'a and any water used over the required amount 
will be considered wasteful. 

18 A disparaging epithet used for the rank and file graduates of Islamic studies in the 
Indian subcontinent. 

19 Bukhari, idha Ba al-Wakil 

20 23:2 

21 Mustadrak, li Man Shi'tu min khalql 

22 A complicated book written on the deeper meanings of Tasawwuf by Sayyid Shah 
Ismail Shahid 

23 A book on Tasawwuf by Shaikh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi. Most shaikhs advise their 
successors to read and review Imdad al-Suluk periodically. 

24 Maktubat Shaikh al-Islam 3/66 

25 Maktubat Shaikh al-Islam 3/168, Letter # 57 

26 Maktubat Shaikh al-Islam 3/168, Letter # 57 

27 42: 27 

28 21:35 

29 7:168 

30 Maktubat Shaikh al-Islam 3/59, p. 129 

31 35:37 

32 63:9 

33 18:46 

34 Bukhari, la Aisha ilia Aishat al-Akhira 

35 Maktubat Shaikh al-Islam 72/188, p. 48 

36 10: 62 

37 This work is about the dhikr and temporal spiritual states of the Sufis. 

38 68:4 



Chapter Nine 


People raise objections to many practices of the sufis. One of them is 
taking of bai'a, even though bai'a is not even necessary in the view of 
the sufis, as I will mention later. However, the practice of taking bai'a 
is deeply rooted in the Quran and the Sunna. In Surat al-Mumtahina, 
Allah 0i says: 

» is'is'>/' ^y l t a> /„// v >' '•^''•y/l ^i^v/' ^. || ^« s /' ^« 3 S 

a " ,- ,- " s s- * 


O you who believe, when the believing women come to you, seeking 
bai 'a with you that they will not ascribe any partner to Allah 0z, and 
will not commit theft, and will not commit fornication, and will not 
kill their children, and will not come up with a false claim [about 
the parentage of a child] that they falsely attribute [to the sperms of 
their husbands being dropped] between their hands and their feet [i.e. 
their private parts], and will not disobey you in what is recognized [in 


Shari'a] then take them in your bai'a, and pray Allah ^0 for their 
forgiveness. Surely, Allah 0i is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful. 1 

In the commentary, Shaikh Ashraf 'All Thanwl writes: 

This aya is clear proof of bai'a and a repudiation of the ritual bai'a 
that is bereft of any desire to perform good deeds. 
It says in a hadith of Bukharr. 

' ■"/' - > - i »'' - > ' ' > ' ' '' f f 

(' > ' ' ' ' > i > i ' s's 

^y°j A5 ajl& j^j l^lxJI ^y C- Jjai C2» Clite J^ L>U^ j^J i*&\ JiS* 
*Li j]j <UP lip *Li jl «cUl tjljtf 1 "Oil #JL*» «j 14*" ^^ (V ^^ 

Ci\ii (ip »\LuUi «u!s\p 

'Ubada ibn Samit JL who participated in the battle of Badr and was 
one of the leaders in the night of 'Aqaba, narrates that once when the 
Companions 0§t. gathered by him the Blessed Prophet j§s said: 

Come, take bai'a with me upon the belief that you will not 
equate anything with Allah jj^s, will not steal, fornicate, or 
murder your own children, and that you will not accuse any- 
one of anything and will not stand against one who speaks 
the truth. Whosoever fulfills this bai'a will receive the reward 
from Allah 0z and whosoever commits anyone of these will 
taste retribution in this world. This punishment in the world 
will be atonement for his sin. And if Allah j^S hides his sin, 
He may forgive or punish in the Hereafter. This is Allah's 0* 

Shari'a &TarIqa 

'Ubada ^ says, "We took bai'a with the Blessed Prophet J§s on these 
deeds." 2 This bai'a was not the bai'a of Islam or the bai'a to struggle 
in the path of Allah 0i, but the bai'a made by the sufis to emphasize 
practicing upon the tenets and commandments of Islam. 

Shah Wall Allah 0z Dehlawl wrote extensively in his book al-Qaul 
al-Jamll [later translated into Shifa al-'Alll]. He says: 

Allah Jga said: 

Those who pledge allegiance with you [by placing their hands in your 
hands] they, in fact, pledge allegiance with Allah Jgj. Allah's $& 
hand is over their hands. Then, whoever breaks his pledge breaks it 
to his own detriment, and whoever fulfills the covenant he has made 
with Allah $&, He will give him a great reward? 

It is also stated in the well-known ahadith [mashhur] that the 
Companions fi§t sometimes made bai'a to the Blessed Prophet J& 
upon migration; upon struggling in the path of Allah |ga; upon ad- 
herence to the pillars of Islam like salat, fasting, haj, zakat; upon 
steadfastness in the battlefield against the disbelievers as in the bai'a 
of Ridwan; upon adherence to the Sunnas of the Blessed Prophet j§s; 
to save against innovations and to passionately perform good deeds. 
Therefore, it is mentioned in an authentic hadith that the women 
of the Helpers took bai'a with the Blessed Prophet j§i to cease the 
custom of wailing in funerals. 

In the narration of Ibn Maja, it is mentioned that some poor 
Emigrants took bai'a with the Blessed Prophet j§i to avoid asking 
anything from anyone. By the blessings of this bai'a if anything [even 
a whip] fell from their mount, they dismounted to retrieve it them- 
selves and refused to take anyone's help. And this much is known 
that when the Blessed Prophet j& did anything as an act of worship 
and not by nature, it is categorized as a proper Sunna. Once this is 
understood we should ask ourselves as to which category does this 
type of bai'a fall under? Now, some people believe that bai'a is for 
when someone is chosen as the caliph and sultan and that the bai'a 
of the sufis holds no meaning in the Shari'a. But we know this to be 
false because of the previous narrations that the Blessed Prophet j§& 


sometimes took bai'a to establish the pillars of Islam while at other 
times for adherence to the Sunnas. Even the hadith of Bukbari proves 
this; namely that the Blessed Prophet Jffe stipulated to Jarir ^ in the 
bai'a that he would be kind and loving toward all Muslims. 

The Helpers took bai'a with the Blessed Prophet j& to never 
be concerned with the criticism of people in matters of Din and 
to speak the truth wherever they may be. Therefore, some of them 
were fearless in publicly criticizing and rejecting the ruthless gover- 
nors and amirs when they did wrong. The Blessed Prophet j§i also 
took bai'a from the women of the Helpers to abstain from wailing 
in funerals. Bai'a is a fact that is proven in many other matters also, 
many of them relating to purification of the heart, and enjoining 
the good and forbidding the evil. This method of bai'a was discon- 
tinued during the reign of the sultans from fear of repercussions 
from the sultans. During that time, the sufis resorted to distribut- 
ing patched pieces of cloth [kharqa] to the seekers and when the 
custom of bai'a died out amongst the sultans, the sufis revived the 
Sunna of bai'a. 

After this, Shah Wall Allah begins a new chapter about whether bai'a 
is necessary or Sunna. The Companions jjgt made bai'a with the Blessed 
Prophet j§i and used it as a means to gain closeness to Allah ggigt. There is 
no evidence as to whether one who does not make bai'a is sinful or that 
any of the pious predecessors reprimanded one who did not make the bai'a. 

Shah Wall Allah writes in al-Qaul al-Jamil: 

The bai'a that is customary amongst the sufis is of many kinds. The 
first kind is in which one repents for all past sins. Another kind is 
when one makes bai'a to gain blessings from the line of the sufis 
[amongst whom he is making bai'a]. This is similar to the blessings 
gained by belonging to a chain of transmission of ahadith as that also 
carries blessings. The third kind of bai'a is to purify the intention 
to achieve total sincerity towards Allah 0i and to prevent oneself 
from committing evil deeds of the heart and body, and to establish a 
relationship with Allah 0i. This is the main bai'a while the previous 
two are forms of worship. Fulfillment of the third bai'a means to be 
steadfast upon abstinence from sins, to struggle against the lower self 
in order to perform good deeds, and to engage in spiritual exercises 
that discipline the lower self against shirking from good deeds until 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

one is infused with the effervescent light of tranquility [itmi'nan], 
which eventually becomes his nature. 

In al-Takashshuf, Shaikh Thanwl writes: 

> ' t ' ' t '' ' - ,!>,'., > ' t ' ' ,> 

• X .> s C , , ' >> £ ' S S S t S 

j > ' s ^ '' > > ' '* ' i ' 

^ ,» • ^ ^ j ^ * , % ' ' *?' 

)oju~> Juil i_yJj' jjlwi d-o'j jjiw up" (j*li)l IjSLLo Xj — ^ujl*- <uJS 

Auf ibn Malik Ashja'l ^ narrates: 

Once we were sitting with the Blessed Prophet j§j. We were nine, eight, 
or seven men. The Blessed Prophet J& said, 'Are you not going to make 
bai'a with the Prophet?' We stretched out our hands and said, 'What 
should we take bai'a upon?' 'That you will worship Allah $fr alone, you 
will not associate with Allah $gz, you will pray all five salats, and will 
listen and follow upon all the commandments.' Then he said quietly, 
And that you will never ask anyone for anything.' 

The narrator says, "I observed some of them that if a whip acciden- 
tally fell from their mount, they would not ask someone to pick it up 
and return it to them." 4 

Note: The bai'a of the sufis is of the kind in which one makes firm 
intention to adhere to the obligations of the Din, and to be persis- 
tent on the good deeds of the heart and body. In common parlance, 
this bai'a is called the bai'a of Tasawwuf. Some of the Literalists 
[Ahl al-Zahir] say it is an innovation because there is no evidence 


of it in the Sunna of the Blessed Prophet j&> and that the only type 
proven in the Sunna is the bai'a of struggling in the path of Allah 0i 
or upon embracing Islam. However, the bai'a of the sufis is clearly 
proven in the aforementioned hadith because it was performed by 
the Companions tjfe., so it surely was not bai'a upon embracing Islam. 
If it was, it would mean performing bai'a on something already at- 
tained. Likewise, this could not be bai'a for struggling in the path of 
Allah 0i because the words clearly emphasize the importance of per- 
forming good deeds. Thus, the objective is made clear. 

The majority of elders most often instruct the newly initiated in 
private because such instructions are usually beyond the comprehen- 
sion of the general public. Thus, if it was ever made public it would 
result in disorder. Instructing in private is beneficial because it gives 
the seeker undivided attention and shows consideration toward him, 
which in turn engenders love in his heart [for his spiritual mentor]. It 
also warns others not to follow instructions prescribed for him since 
they [other seekers] require instructions that correspond to their own 
specific conditions. This method of private instruction is proven in 
the aforementioned ahadith. Furthermore, most seekers are naturally 
inclined to become extremely literal in understanding the instruc- 
tions of their spiritual mentors. They might take both the literal as 
well as the actual meaning of their mentor's words. 

The presence of this trait [in a seeker] is confirmed in the afore- 
mentioned hadith because the Blessed Prophet |p only intended to 
stop them from becoming dependent on others [by begging and ask- 
ing from others], not that they were prohibited from taking help for 
their own things. However, since the possibility of the literal mean- 
ing existed [that they not even ask for their own thing from anyone], 
the Companions u|fc were not wrong to think that they should not 
ask for their own thing from anyone either. In one hadith, it is nar- 
rated that once the Blessed Prophet j§s told everyone to sit down dur- 
ing a sermon. One of the Companions jjt who was walking through 
the doorway at the time sat down where he was. It is clear from 
the hadith that the Blessed Prophet j&> did not intend for him to sit 
where he was but that everybody should come into the masjid and 
nobody should be left standing. 

This is the type of love for the mentor that is absolutely essential in 
order for a seeker to derive spiritual benefit from his shaikh. After this 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

hadith, Shaikh Thanwl narrates 'Ubada's ,£§, hadith as has been narrated 
above. One of the other points he makes regarding this hadith is that the 
hadith clearly states that the people who were ordered to take bai'a with 
the Blessed Prophet j§* were all Companions ji§k which proves that aside 
from the bai'a for struggling in the path of Allah 0* and embracing Islam, 
the Blessed Prophet j§& also took bai'a for shunning evil deeds and staying 
firm upon good deeds. This is the same bai'a that is called the bai'a of 
Tasawwuf that is customary among the sufis. Therefore, rejection of this 
bai'a is foolishness. 

Another point made clear from the two aforementioned ahadlth is that 
it is permissible for a mentor to order his seeker to take bai'a with him for 
specific reasons. My relative, the respected Shaikh Yusuf Kandhelwi col- 
lected many excellent ahadlth in the chapter of bai'a in his book Hayat al- 
Sahaba. This book contains a chapter on bai'a for struggling in the path of 
Allah J&, a chapter on bai'a of Islam, and an entire chapter titled 'bai'a on 
the deeds of Islam.' The narrations, their references, and chains of trans- 
mission are extremely long; we will suffice here with a few short narrations. 
For more narrations and their references, one may look in Hayat al-Sahaba. 


Bashir ibn Khasasiyya says, "I came to make bai'a with the Blessed 
Prophet j§&. I asked him, 'What things should I take bai'a with you upon?' 
The Blessed Prophet j§j stretched out his hands and said, 'Bear witness that 
there is no God besides Allah 0. and that Muhammad j§& is His servant 
and Prophet, that you will pray five times salat in their respective times, 
pay the zakat, fast in the month of Ramadan, perform Haj, and go out in 
the path of Allah $g».' He said, 'O Blessed Prophet j§&, I can do everything 
but two things. Firstly, I cannot pay zakat because I own only ten camels 
which I use as mounts and to provide milk for my family. Secondly, I can- 
not go in the path of Allah 0- because I am weak-hearted and people say 
whoever runs away while in the path of Allah 0z will face the wrath of 
Allah 0*. I fear that if I go in the path of Allah 0-, I will run away and 
face the wrath of Allah $&*.' The Blessed Prophet Jp pulled back his hands 
and said, gesturing, 'O Bashir, when there is neither zakat nor struggle 
in the path of Allah 0- then how do you expect to enter Paradise?' I said, 
'O Blessed Prophet ^, okay, spread your hands I will take bai'a with you.' 


Then, the Blessed Prophet j§& spread out his hands and I took bai'a with 
him upon the aforementioned deeds." 5 

Jarlr ^ narrates, "I made bai'a with the Blessed Prophet j§fe to estab- 
lish salat, pay zakat, and always be good with all Muslims." 6 In another 
narration the Blessed Prophet Jp said, "O Jarlr! Spread out your hands." 
I asked him, "For what O Blessed Prophet Jl,?" "Upon adhering to all 
the commandments of Allah 0i and to be good to all Muslims." Jarlr jjt 
listened carefully to the Blessed Prophet §k and [being farsighted] finally 
said, "I will do whatever is within my capacity, O Blessed Prophet j&." 7 Af- 
ter this, anyone who took bai'a found latitude [in fulfillment of the bai'a] 
with the words, "I will do whatever is within my capacity." 

Abu Amama $± says the Blessed Prophet j§& said "Is there anyone 
wanting to take bai'a with me?" Thauban $, said, "We will take bai'a 
with you." The Blessed Prophet j§s. accepted his bai'a upon the pledge to 
never ask anything from anybody. Thauban £§, asked, "What will the 
person who fulfills this bai'a get?" The Blessed Prophet Jp replied, "Para- 
dise." Then, Thauban $. took bai'a with the Blessed Prophet Js. Abu 
Amama j£§t says, "I saw his whip fall from his hand when he was in a large 
gathering. Sometimes, it happened that it fell on a person's shoulder and 
the man would stand up to give it to him, but he would refuse to take it. 
Instead, he would dismount and pick it up himself." 8 

The narration of Abu Dharr Jj. is narrated with various chains of 
transmission. He says, "I made bai'a with the Blessed Prophet j§* on five 
different occasions that I would not fear the criticism of any person in ful- 
filling the rights of Allah $&." In another hadith, the Blessed Prophet j§& 
said to Abu Dharr £§>,, "Wait for six days and come to me on the seventh 
and I will tell you something. Make sure you understand what I say to you 
properly." On the seventh day, the Blessed Prophet j§& said, "First, I advise 
you to fear Allah 0i, when you are alone or in a gathering; whenever you 
commit a bad deed immediately eliminate it with a good deed, do not ask 
anyone for anything even if your whip falls, and do not safeguard anyone's 
possessions." 9 


Shari'a & TarIqa 


i 60: 12 

2 Bukhari, 'Alamat al-Iman Hubb al-Ansar 

3 48:10 

4 Muslim, Karahat al-Mas'ala li al-Nds 

5 Musnad Ahmad, Hadlth Bashir ibn Khasasiyya 

6 Bukharl, al-Din al-Naslha 

7 Bukharl, Kaifa Yubaiyu al-Imam [with slightly different wording] 

8 al-Mu'jim al-Kablr, j/22g 

9 Musnad Ahmad, Hadlth Abi Dharr 


Chapter Ten 



In the time of the Blessed Prophet §£, his blessed company was suffi- 
cient to produce the state of ihsan. This is understood from the books of 
the earlier and later scholars. However, as time passed and the light of the 
enlightened period decreased, the hearts of Muslims became enveloped 
in the darkness of evils. In Tirmidhl, Anas ^ narrates that everything 
in Madina was filled with light [nur] the day the Blessed Prophet j§i en- 
tered the city and full of darkness the day he passed away: "We did not 
even brush the dirt from our hands after burying the Blessed Prophet j§s. 
that we felt a change in our hearts." 1 
Hanzala t§^. says: 

I came out from my house and met Abu Bakr £$%,. He asked me, 'O 
Hanzala, how are you doing?' I said, 'Hanzala is a hypocrite.' He 
exclaimed, 'What are you saying, O Hanzala?' I said, 'When we 
are sitting with the Blessed Prophet j§S> and he is talking about Par- 
adise and Hellfire, it is as if we are witnessing it. However, when 
we leave his presence and return to our families and are busy in our 
work, we forget everything.' Abu Bakr ^ said, 'I swear by Allah 0z, 
I feel the exact same way.' Then Abu Bakr and I both came 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

to the Blessed Prophet j§j and I said, 'O Blessed Prophet j|>, 
Hanzala jj& has become a hypocrite.' He said, 'What are you say- 
ing?' Then I explained our situation to him. He replied, 'I swear by 
the One in whose hands is my life, if you remain in the same state 
as when you are with me and are perpetually in the remembrance of 
Allah Jga [ft al-dhikr], the angels would shake hands with you in 
your beds and on the pathways, but Hanzala, this is from time to 
time only' and then he said three times, 'A person never remains 
in the same state.' 2 

The state mentioned in this hadith is reference to the state of perpetual 
awareness of Allah Jgj. It is much the same with the seekers that they 
sometimes achieve spiritual states while in the company of their mentors 
but lose it once they leave their company. The word dhikr used in the 
above hadith includes the gatherings of dhikr. Frequent dhikr helps in at- 
taining the level of ihsan while abundant dhikr can even substitute for the 
blessed company of one's mentor. 

It is mentioned in al-Takashshuf that Abu Talha Ansarl ^ was once 
praying salat in his garden when he saw a bird fluttering about, un- 
able to free itself from the entwined branches. Abu Talha ^ stared at 
it fixedly, amazed that even a bird could not free itself from his lush 
garden. When he returned his attention to salat, he realized he had 
forgotten how many units he had prayed. He said to himself, "I have 
been put in difficulty because of my land." Thereafter, he came to 
the Blessed Prophet Jps, explained the entire matter and then said, "O 
Blessed Prophet j§&, I give this garden in the path of Allah $$t. Spend it 
wherever you wish." 3 

Note: One of the many practices of the sufis is to be vigilant of the 
heart and to make amends when the heart is forgetful of the remem- 
brance of Allah $jfr. The excellence of this practice is understood by the 
Companions ^t act and the Blessed Prophet's $& approval. It was his 
vigilance toward his heart which resulted in his giving away the garden 
to the Blessed Prophet j§&. 

Hatred toward anything that diverts one's attention away from 
Allah 0z is called ghaira which is a beautiful quality for a Muslim to have. 
One will read in the anecdotes of the friends of Allah $&. that they con- 
fiscated anything from the seekers that made them forgetful of Allah $$,, 
The evidence for this is found in the abovementioned hadith. The 


Spiritual Exertions were Unnecessary in the Time of the Blessed Prophet §h 

Blessed Prophet §£ approved the [spiritual] treatment the Companion ^ 
prescribed for himself. In hadith terminology, the tacit approval of an act 
by the Blessed Prophet j§& is called an acknowledgement [taqrlr]. 


Another incident which occurred during the caliphate of 'Uthman ^ is 
narrated in the Muwatta'. One of the Companions J5§fc from amongst the 
Helpers was once praying salat in his garden. The dates had ripened and 
were hanging in clusters on the date-palm trees. He took side glances at the 
clusters and his heart became distracted by thoughts of the garden. When 
his attention returned to salat, he realized he could not remember how 
many units he had prayed. He said to himself, "I have been put in confu- 
sion because of this garden," and came to 'Uthman £§,. He narrated the 
whole incident to the caliph and said, "This garden of mine is a charity in 
the path of Allah $g», spend it wherever you wish." 'Uthman ^ took the 
garden and sold it for fifty thousand dinars. He named the garden kham- 
sin, and gave away all the money in charity 4 

Not hundreds but thousands of such incidents are narrated in the bi- 
ographies of the Companions u§t proving that they reached the level of 
ihsan without any specific practices or exhaustive exercises. Shah Wall 
Allah Dehlawl wrote in his commentary of the Muwatta, "These inci- 
dents are manifestations of the nisba after it develops in the heart. They 
gave priority to the worship of Allah 0z over everything and felt ghaira 
in keeping in their ownership anything that distracted them from Him." 
Abu al-Walld Bajl says, "There are very few such incidents where the 
Companions ^ attention was diverted while performing worship but if it 
ever happened, they felt a burden on themselves [until they removed that 
thing from their ownership] ." What about us who are always forgetful of 
Allah 0* in our salat? May Allah 0* forgive all our mistakes. 

In the fifth chapter of my book Hakayat al-Sahaba, there are many in- 
cidents about the concentration of the Companions ^ in their salat. One 
of these stories is about Abd Allah ibn Zubair ^ who was once praying 
salat while his infant son Hashim was lying next to him. A snake fell from 
the roof onto Hashim and he began to scream. People raised a hue and cry. 
They ran for the child and killed the snake. In the meantime, Abd Allah 
ibn Zubair ^ continued to pray his salat peacefully. After he completed 
the salat, he asked, "I heard some noise?" His wife said, "May Allah Jgs 

Shari'a &Taeuqa 

have mercy on you, the child was about to lose his life and you didn't even 
know?" He replied, "Woe to you! If I was to divert my attention in salat I 
would be breaking my salat." 

Many incidents of this kind are narrated in Hakayat al-Sahaba. What 
need did the Companions jj§k have for spiritual practices and exercises 
when they already had reached the level of, 'that you worship Allah 0i as 
if you are seeing Him?' 

My respected, Shaikh Yusuf also narrated many incidents in his excel- 
lent book Hayat al-Sahaba under the chapter of 'The reality of faith.' The 
first incident of this chapter begins with the story of Harith ibn Malik ^ 
who was once praying salat in the masjid. The Blessed Prophet jfi entered 
the masjid and nudged him with his foot. Harith ^ raised his head and 
said, "May my mother and father be sacrificed for you, what is it O Blessed 
Prophet j§&?" The Blessed Prophet Jp asked, "What condition did you 
wake up in this morning?" He said, "O Blessed Prophet Js, I woke up in 
the state of being a believer." The Blessed Prophet Jp asked, "What is the 
reality of what you just said?" He replied, "I turned myself away from the 
world, spent the whole day thirsty [fasting], and stayed awake the whole 
night. I see the throne of my Creator and I also see the dwellers of Paradise 
visiting each other and the dwellers of the Hellfire spiteful of each other." 

The Blessed Prophet j§& said, "You are a man whose heart Allah 0? has 
enlightened. You have gnosis of Allah .0*." 



Ibn Habban, Wafdtuhu Salla Allah 'Alaih wa Sallam | Ibn Maja, Dhikr Wafatihi Salla 
Allah Alaih wa Sallam 

z Muslim, Fadl Dawam al-Dhikr 

3 Muwatta', al-Nazar fi al-Salah 

4 Ibid 


Chapter Eleven 

The Spiritual Exertions of the Sufis 


As Shaikh Rashid Ahmad Gangohl previously stated, one sitting with 
the Blessed Prophet j§s was sufficient to produce the attribute of ihsan. 
As the rift [in time] between the community and the Blessed Prophet j§s. 
grew, the attainment of ihsan became a difficult aspiration, and the sufis 
were required to devise spiritual remedies to help acquire it. 

In Shifd al-'Alil [translation of al-Qaul al-Jamll], Shaikh Nawab Qutb 
al-Dln comments: 

By his unparalleled examination of the subject and his passionate 
discussions, the author [Shah Wall Allah Dehlawl] has removed the 
objections of the feebleminded. Some say that since the methods and 
exercises of the Qadiriyya, Chishtiyya, and Naqshbandiyya paths are 
nowhere to be seen in the time of the Companions £§t or First Suc- 
cessors, therefore they are evil innovations. The summary of his re- 
sponse is simple. The reason spiritual mentors devised these methods 
was to attain a quality that existed in the time of the prophethood. 
However, the method of attaining this quality [of ihsan] changed 
with the times. Thus, the masters of Tasawwuf did not deviate from 
the Shari'a. Just as the four imams established certain principles for 
deriving legal rulings from the exoteric of the Shari'a, likewise the 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

masters of Tasawwuf established certain principles to derive from the 
esoteric of the Shari'a which became known as Tasawwuf. How can 
this be called an evil innovation? What a ridiculous claim. Though 
this much can be said that the Companions £§t were not in need of 
such exercises because they acquired the quality of ihsan from the 
Blessed Prophet j§i himself. The people after them, however, were 
required to devise certain exercises to attain ihsan because of the dis- 
tance in time between the Blessed Prophet Jl, and them. It is similar 
to how the Companions t& did not need Arabic syntax or Arabic 
morphology to understand the Quran while non-Arabs and the Ar- 
abs of today cannot understand the Quran without these sciences. 

Nawab Qutb al-Dln Khan Dehlawl explains with an example in his 
footnotes on al-Qaul al- -Jamil. He writes: 

When the sun rises a person can read without the need of artifi- 
cial light; but when it sets, one is in need of artificial light. In the 
time of the Companions ijt, it was as if the sun was out; they 
weren't forced to perform certain exercises to achieve conscious- 
ness of Allah 0i. This was achieved by one sitting with the Blessed 
Prophet Jp, a beautiful quality that cannot be achieved in many 
months in our times. Now, as the sun has set, certain exercises are 
required to achieve ihsan. 

After this, Shah Wall Allah says: 

I heard from my blessed father who often mentioned seeing All J^., 
Hasan J^> and Hussain Jt in his dream. 'I asked All Jt, is our nisba 
the same as yours in the time of the Blessed Prophet j&?' Ali Jj, 
asked me to go into a state of absorption. After meditating for some 
time, he said, 'It is the same without any difference.' 1 


Then one should know that whoever maintains this nisba will reach lofty 
states. Sometimes he will reach one type while at other times another. 
One should appreciate these ethereal states and know that such temporal 


The Spiritual Exertions of the Sufis 

spiritual states are signs of the acceptance of one's good deeds. One of 
these temporal spiritual states is to be steadfast in performing good deeds, 
giving priority of the commandments of Allah 0* over all other things 
and being diligent in this matter. Therefore, Imam Malik narrated in his 
Muwatta' from 'Abd Allah ibn Bakr that Abu Abu Talha Ansarl jj§. would 
pray salat in his garden [this incident has already past]. After this he says, 
"The story of Sulaiman *§ mentioned in the aya: 

i s > / " 

s ** • ^ 

And he started passing his hands over the necks and hamstrings [of 
the horses]. 2 

is a well-known incident." 

Shaikh Nawab Qutb al-Dln writes: 

In brief, what happened was that once Sulaiman -%& became so busy 
inspecting his horses that the sun set and he missed his Asr salat. 
Sulaiman *£ ordered, 'Cut the necks and hamstrings of the horses.' 

In essence, following the commandments of Allah $$z supersedes 
everything else for the righteous. If anything impedes the path of fulfill- 
ing the commandments of Allah j0,, the ghaira [towards Allah ^g»] of 
the righteous ones begs that it be removed immediately. Therefore, Abu 
Talha Ansarl J^. gave away his beautiful garden and Sulaiman ^E cut 
down his horses. 

In Bay an al- Quran, Shaikh Thanwl writes under the aya: 

^' > " 

And he started passing his hands over the necks and hamstrings [of 
the horses] ? 

This incident is worth remembering. When the robust horses that 
were trained in the path of Allah 0i were presented to him he be- 
came so engrossed in their inspection that he didn't realize the day 
was over. He missed some of his daily routine of voluntary salats 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

[narration of 'All j^. in al-Durr al-Manthiir]. Though his servants 
knew his routine, none had the courage to bring it to his attention 
because of his imposing character [narration of Ibn 'Abbas ^]. How- 
ever, when he realized it himself he said, 'Woe to me that I became 
forgetful of my Creator because of my love for wealth. He then or- 
dered his attendants to bring the horses back in his presence. He 
unsheathed his sword and began cutting them down at the neck 
and hamstrings [narration of Hasan j^j. in al-Durr al-Manthur\. In 
Tasawwuf terminology, this is called gbaira which means eliminat- 
ing anything that hinders the remembrance of Allah Jiga. 

Then he [Shah Wall Allah] says: 

And one of the lofty states is fear of Allah j0i that manifests in the 
limbs and body. The memorizers of hadith narrate a hadith that the 
Blessed Prophet j& said, 'Ten people will be placed underneath the 
shade of His throne, the fifth being one who remembered Allah Jig* 
in a desolate place and tears flowed from his eyes.' 4 In another hadith, 
once 'Uthman j§± cried profusely while standing before a grave. It is 
also narrated in a hadith that one could hear a sound like the sim- 
mering of food [in a pot] from the Blessed Prophet's jfk chest when 
he prayed his nightly salat. 5 

Shah 'Abd al-'AzIz says, "In one hadith it is narrated that one who cries 
from fear of Allah 0* will not enter into the Hellfire until milk reenters 
the udder. 6 Abu Bakr jjt was one who cried profusely. He could never stop 
crying when he recited the Quran. Jubair ibn Mut'im Jj. said, 'When I 
heard the aya: 

Is it that they are created by none, or are they themselves the creators? 

from the Blessed Prophet J§i, I felt as if my heart burst [from my chest] 
from fear of Allah ^.'" 8 


The Spiritual Exertions of the Sufis 

There are many sayings of the earlier and later scholars about the spiritual 
exertions that they are not objectives themselves. The true objective is 
attaining the level of ihsan. In the process of attaining ihsan, a seeker 
is treated according to the spiritual illness that prevents him from at- 
taining ihsan. Furthermore, every nation develops its own culture and 
every culture breeds its own spiritual illnesses. Therefore, the spiritual 
masters of the time will prescribe treatments accordingly. When innova- 
tions increased, the spiritual masters added the statement "to save oneself 
from innovation" in their bai'a the way the Blessed Prophet j§& sometimes 
added "and to never ask anyone for anything" or occasionally "to never 
wail." Likewise, the Blessed Prophet jS prescribed specific rulings for dif- 
ferent Companions ^. In Mishkat al-Masabih, Sufyan ibn Abd Allah ^ 
once asked the Blessed Prophet j§&, "O Blessed Prophet j§&, tell me some- 
thing inclusive and concise in Islam that I never need to ask anyone 
again?" The Blessed Prophet j§& replied, "Say 'I believe in Allah 0? and 
hold strong to this." 

In another narration, Abu Amama ^ narrates, "A person asked 
the Blessed Prophet J&, 'What is faith?' The Blessed Prophet j§& replied, 
'When your good deeds makes you happy and your bad deeds make you 
sad, you are a believer.'" 9 Once Amr ibn Anbasa jjt asked, "What is faith?" 
The Blessed Prophet Jp replied, "To be patient [with what you do not 
have] and to be generous [with what you do]." In the same hadith he was 
asked, "What is the highest level of Islam?" The Blessed Prophet Jl* replied, 
"Good habits." 10 When Muadh ibn Jabal Ji asked a similar question the 
Blessed Prophet j§j replied, "that you die in the state that your tongue is 
busy in the remembrance of Allah 0*."" 

In another narration Abd Allah ibn Busr ^ narrates, "A person asked 
the Blessed Prophet j§i, 'O Prophet, there are so many rules of Islam, tell 
me one that I may hold on to tightly' The Blessed Prophet Jk replied, 
'Keep your tongue busy in the remembrance of Allah J^."' 12 

In another narration, Abu Huraira jjt says, "A person asked the 
Blessed Prophet Jk, 'Give me advice?' The Blessed Prophet Jk replied, 'Do 
not be angry' 13 He asked again, the Blessed Prophet $k replied the same 
again. And then, each time he repeated his question the Blessed Prophet Jffe 
gave the same reply. In another narration, Abu Ayyub Ansarl ^ narrates, 
"A man asked, 'Give me some short advice?' The Blessed Prophet j§& replied, 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

'Pray salat as if it is your last, do not say something you will feel regretful 
for afterwards, and do not hope for that which is in the hands of others.'" 14 

In essence, these narrations illustrate that the Blessed Prophet §k cus- 
tomized his answers to the person he was addressing based on his specific 
situation. Likewise, the wordings the spiritual masters of Suluk use or the 
clauses they include in the standard bai'a depends on the person who is 
taking bai'a with them. It also depends on the culture they grew up and 
lived in, and the area they are from. In areas where people are accustomed 
to simulated funeral processions [t'azia] the spiritual masters include the 
words, "repentance from simulated funeral processions." 

When a virus afflicts people in different regions, sometimes a 'hot' 
medicine is suitable for people of one region while 'cold' medicines for 
people of another. Two patients sometimes have the same problem but 
the physician prescribes two different medicines, even though the objec- 
tive in both cases is the same: to cure the patient. Similarly, the treat- 
ments of homeopaths and medical physicians vary, but their objective is 
the same. 

Likewise, the temporal spiritual states of the Chishtiyya and Naqsh- 
bandiyya paths are different because they prescribe treatments according 
to their methodologies. All these spiritual exertions [regardless of whether 
it is according to the Chishtiyya or Naqshbandiyya methodology] are 
treatments for the same spiritual sicknesses. Thus, to demand where such 
a method is found in the Qur'an and hadith is like asking a physician 
where is proof in the hadith to prescribe gule banafsha [a traditional herb] 
for colds. It is like asking a physician, "Which aya of the Qur'an and which 
hadith prove the use of penicillin for infections?" When a person gets sick 
and a physician prescribes something for him, it becomes incumbent on 
the patient to take that medicine. In fact, the scholars even permit the use 
of a forbidden medicine for treating an illness. If a morsel of food gets 
stuck in one's throat and nothing except alcohol is at hand, it becomes 
obligatory on this person to take the alcohol to save his life. The idea is the 
same with spiritual sicknesses. 


If the spiritual 'physicians' prescribe something for a spiritual sickness, 
none has the right to ask whether or not this is from the Qur'an and 
Sunna. Whoever says it is an innovation does not know the meaning 


The Spiritual Exertions of the Sufis 

of innovation. Innovation is the name of an "innovation in Din" not 
an "innovation for Din." People unable to differentiate between the two 
have no understanding of the Din. "Innovation for Din" is so impor- 
tant it sometimes becomes necessary. For example, in the past they used 
swords, bows, and arrows in wars, but using them today for that purpose 
is ludicrous. It is necessary to be equipped with guns, tanks, and modern 
weaponry if one is to be victorious. 


Shaikh Mujaddid writes in one of his letters: 15 

You wrote that you were uninformed about the special nisba of your 
mentor [Shaikh BaqI Billa] and even asked about it. Listen my friend; 
these types of questions are not advisable in writing or even orally. 
Who knows [after reading the reply] what others will make of it and 
deduce from it. In order to understand the nisba of the shaikh, one 
must stay in their company for a considerable period of time and 
not be skeptical of them, i.e. they must be held in the highest regard. 
Every question, whatever it may be, deserves an answer, therefore, I 
will tell you this much: that every perpetual spiritual state is unique 
in the effects it produces, i.e. the changes it produces in the heart and 
the actions. Each perpetual spiritual state is characterized by a type 
of gnosis, spiritual realizations, temporal spiritual states, and feelings. 
The most appropriate worship for one perpetual state may be dhikr 
and concentration on Allah 0z [tawajju] while for another recita- 
tion of Quran and salat. Also, one perpetual state may be reached 
through the bestowal of Allah Jga [jadhb] while another through 
Suluk. A third type of perpetual state may be reached through a 
combination of both while another is totally independent of both, i.e. 
it has no relation with Suluk or jadhb. This perpetual state, however, 
is rare; it was the state of the Companions jSjt. Anyone who possesses 
this perpetual state is of the most excellent character. The holders 
of this perpetual state have little resemblance to the holders of other 
perpetual states, unlike the other perpetual states which are similar 
to each other in one way or another. Few of the spiritual masters 
of the three paths i.e., Chishtiyya, Naqshbandiyya, and Qadiriyya, 
claim to have ever attained this perpetual state, that is to say that 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

few can communicate the spiritual experiences and gnosis that is at- 
tained in this perpetual state. 

The Companions £§t attained this powerful nisba and peaked in it 
within the first few moments of staying in the company of the Blessed 
Prophet J|s. Anyone else would be forced to tread the path of Suluk or 
jadhb, gain knowledge, and gnosis, before attaining this nisba of the 
Companions $&.. The attainment of this nisba so quickly is the exclusive 
trait of the companionship [suhba] of the Blessed Prophet J&. However, 
it is possible to attain this lofty nisba in the same manner and as quickly 
as the Companions j|fs> if one sits in the company of one who has gained 
this blessing. 

As it is necessary to consult physicians for physical illnesses because no 
one reads medical books to treat oneself, likewise it is necessary to con- 
sult spiritual physicians for spiritual illnesses. As many imams came who 
established principles and derived rulings accordingly from the Quran 
and Sunna, likewise many spiritual masters of Suluk came who developed 
methodologies for Tasawwuf. As there were many mujtahids for the ex- 
oteric of the Shari'a, likewise there were many spiritual masters for the 
esoteric of the Shari'a; and as the exoteric of Shari'a became confined to 
four imams likewise, for many reasons, the spiritual masters of Tasawwuf 
became confined [within most of the Muslim world] to four paths: the 
Qadiriyya, Chishtiyya, Suhrwardiyya, and Naqshbandiyya. 


The Spiritual Exertions of the Sufis 


i al-Durr al-Thamin, pg 61 

2 38:33 

3 38:33 

4 Baihaqi, Fadl al-Saldt bi al-Jamd'a | Tirmidhl, al-Hubb fi Allah 

5 Ibn Habban, Qira'at al-Qur'an \ Nisai , al-Buka fi al-Saldt 

6 Tirmidhl, Fadl hg-Ghubar fi Sabil Allah 

7 52:35 

8 Mu jam al-Kablr, 2/141 

9 Ibn Habban, Fard al-Iman 

10 Shu'b al-Iman, 6/242 

11 Ibn Habban, Adkhar 

12 al-Mu jam al-Ausat, 2/374 

13 Bukhari, al-Hadhar min al-Gadab 

14 Musnad Ahmad, 38/434 

15 Tajaliyyat al-Rabbanl 


Chapter Twelve 

The Need fora Mentorand the Necessary 
Conditions for becoming a Mentor 


In al-Takashshuf, Shaikh Thanwl writes: 

One should know that it is necessary for one who treats an illness 
to himself be healthy and also competent enough to treat others. As 
the saying goes, 'the opinion of a weak person is weak' [ra'ya al-'alll 
alii]. Therefore, if he is a physician, but is sick, his opinion will be 
of little value. Likewise, if he is healthy but incompetent, he cannot 
help anyone though he is in good health. 

Likewise, in the treatment of spiritual ailments, a good spiritual 
mentor is required i.e. one who is God-fearing, and not a transgressor 
or an innovator in Din. He should also be competent enough to help 
others attain ihsan. If this person is corrupt in his beliefs or actions 
[i.e., he is amongst the innovators or transgressors] it is only fair to 
conclude that he will not be any good for his [spiritual] students in 
matters of Din. In fact, it is most likely he will try to proselyte the 
seeker; and then if he is not practicing his Din what is the likelihood 
he will guide his student toward good deeds? He will say to himself, 


The Need for a Mentor and the Necessary Conditions for Becoming a Mentor 

'What will he think of me if he sees that I do not practice upon what 
I preach?' If anything, he will justify his actions to appear righteous 
before his students, and this is a major source of misguidance. Sec- 
ond, his teachings will not be illuminated with light, blessings, or 
the divine help of Allah J&. If this spiritual mentor is God-fearing 
and pious, but does not possess the necessary skills to instruct the 
students in spiritual matters, he will be unable to help the seeker in 
his affairs. 

How do we recognize a true physician? If he is accredited, has 
completed his residency, people come to him for treatment, and 
many of them are nursed back to health. Likewise, the signs of a 
true spiritual mentor are that he has spent a considerable amount of 
time with and benefited from a recognized mentor; the scholars and 
people of intelligence think highly of him, come to him in times of 
need; and feel an increase in love of Allah J^& and decrease in love of 
the material world when sitting in his presence; and the situation of 
those who sit in his company is continually progressing. When one 
observes all these signs in a person, then he is worthy of being made 
a spiritual mentor. He should consider him a panacea for his spiritual 
ailments and believe that visiting and being in the service of such a 
person is a great honor. Thus, a complete overview of the character- 
istics of a spiritual mentor is: 

— he is God-fearing and pious 

— he is a follower of the Sunna 

— knows a sufficient amount of the knowledge of Din 

— has remained in the company of a recognized mentor 

— the scholars and intelligent people are inclined towards him 

— his company is efficacious 

— the seekers are improving in his company. 


In al-Qaul al-Jamil, Shah Wall Allah Dehlawl established stricter condi- 
tions for being a spiritual mentor, the summary being mentioned in Shifa 
al-'Alll. Below, is a list of some of these conditions: 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

i. Knowledge of the Quran and hadith, and this does not mean com- 
prehensive knowledge of the Quran, but sufficient enough that he has un- 
derstood the Quran through study of the exegesis like TafsJr al-Madarik 
or Jalalain or some other voluminous or summarized exegesis. It is also 
important that he has studied the said exegesis from a learned scholar. He 
should also be knowledgeable in the field of ahadlth and have studied 
Kitab al-Masablh or Mashariq and knows the opinions of the scholars on 
the different ahadlth. 

The translator [of al-Qaul al-Jamil], Shaikh Nawab Qutb al-Dln, says 
that the condition 'knows the opinions of the scholars' is to know that 
any opinion aside from the opinions of the four imams is a deviation and 
against the consensus of the community. Shah 'Abd al-'AzIz says that, 'one 
who is informed of the position of scholars fulfills the condition of having 
sufficient knowledge of the Quran and Sunna.' 

After this, Shah Wall Allah Dehlawl reminds us that the condition 
for the mentor to be a scholar is that the purpose of bai'a itself is to guide 
the seeker towards goodness and prohibit him from wrongful things, 
to break his bad habits and to imbue in him good ones. And then the 
most important is to have the seeker retain these good habits and prac- 
tice them in all the different aspects mentioned above. Thus, how can 
a spiritual mentor who is not a scholar and does not possess the knowl- 
edge of good and bad, right and wrong, be able to guide a seeker to the 
right path? 

Shaikh Nawab Qutb al-Dln says: 

Subhdn Alldh\ Look at how the situation has changed in our times. 
The pseudo-sufis of today are obsessed with the notion that knowl- 
edge is unnecessary in Tasawwuf and, in fact, think it is a hurdle in 
this path. They say that Shari'a is one thing and Tasawwuf is another. 
How can they say such a thing when all one finds in the books of 
the past sufis like Qut al-Qulub, 'Awdrif, Ihya al-'Ulum, Kimiyd-e- 
Sa'adat, Futiih al-Ghaib, and Ghaniyyat al-Talibm is that Shari'a is 
a condition for Tasawwuf? Even ignorance cringes at such examples 
of grave ignorance. They don't even know what is written in the 
books of the sufis whose names they chant more than they recite the 
Qur'an and who they talk about night and day. 


The Need for a Mentor and the Necessary Conditions for Becoming a Mentor 
Shaikh Nawab Qutb al-Dln writes in a footnote: 

It says, in the book Tasawwuf-e-Muhammudi' 'that the father of the 
sufis, Shaikh Junaid Baghdad! says: 

Whoever has not memorized the Qur'an and written 
ahadith cannot be followed in Tasawwuf because this path 
and knowledge of ours is mutually intertwined with the 
Qur'an and Sunna. 

Another one of his sayings is, "Any Tasawwuf which opposes the 
Shari'a is disbelief." 

SirrI Saqtl said, "Tasawwuf is the name of three qualities: 

i The light of gnosis does not extinguish the light of taqwa. 

2 One does not speak the secrets of the inner [the spiritual states 
and celestial shapes etc.] if they violate the explicit meanings 
of the Qur'an. 

3 The supernatural wonders of a person do not transgress the 
prohibitions of Allah 0i. 

Many other sayings of the famous friends of Allah jbigz are mentioned 
in Jami ' al-Tafasir. 

Shah Wall Allah Dehlawl continues: 

Then, the spiritual mentor must be one who has remained in the 
company of the God-fearing scholars, learned the proprieties from 
them, and diligently studied the lawful and unlawful. He trembles 
in fear when he hears the orders and prohibitions from the Qur'an 
and Sunna, and transforms his sayings, actions, and his whole life in 
accordance with the Qur'an and Sunna. If a spiritual mentor is not a 
scholar it is expected of him to possess as much knowledge as is nec- 
essary to ensure he leads his life according to the Qur'an and Sunna. 

2. The second condition is that he must have probity [adala] and taqwa. 
It is incumbent upon him to abstain from major sins and to continuously 
refrain from minor ones. 


Sharj'a &TarIqa 
Shah 'Abd al-'AzIz says: 

Taqwa is a condition for the spiritual mentor because the purpose 
behind bai'a is to purify the heart. Humans are naturally inclined 
to adopt the ways and habits of those in whose company they sit. In 
matters of Tasawwuf, words without actions will not do. Therefore, 
a spiritual mentor who is not characterized by good morals and good 
deeds and who only talks and delivers speeches has not understood 
the purpose of bai'a. 

3. The third condition is that he strives for the Hereafter and abstains 
from the allures of the material world. He is steadfast in practicing the 
emphasized Sunnas and the different dhikrs narrated in the authentic 
ahadlth. His heart is connected with Allah 0* and he possesses the gift of 
perpetual awareness of Allah jjjjgt. 

4. The fourth condition is that he only orders what is permissible and 
prohibits what is forbidden. He is strong of opinion and not wishy-washy, 
trying to please everyone. He is also extremely intelligent and one who can 
be trusted. 

5. The fifth condition is that he has stayed in the company of a genuine 
mentor and learned the proprieties from him for a lengthy period of time. 
He has gained light of the heart and tranquility from him. The company 
of the friends of Allah gjjgt is necessary because it is the way of Allah 0z 
that one cannot acquire something unless he is in the company of those 
who already possess it. So, a person cannot truly gain knowledge unless he 
sits with the scholars, and likewise can be said of every skill; one cannot be 
a blacksmith until he learns from a blacksmith and a carpenter unless he 
spends time with a carpenter. 

It is not necessary that the spiritual mentor is able to perform mi- 
raculous deeds or that he does not work [i.e., have a job]. This is because 
miraculous acts are the result of exhaustive spiritual exercises. They are 
not a sign of genuineness in the spiritual mentor, and to leave one's work 
or occupation is against the Shari'a. One should not be deceived by the 
dervishes who are overwhelmed by their spiritual states and do not try to 
make a living; their lifestyle cannot be taken as evidence of permissibility 
to withdraw from worldly life and from making a living. Islam teaches 


The Need for a Mentor and the Necessary Conditions for Becoming a Mentor 

us to be content with whatever we have, to be careful of how we earn our 
wealth, to avoid unlawful and doubtful wealth and a job that is forbidden 
[but not to withdraw from the worldly life] . 
Shah 'Abd al-'AzIz says: 

It is not necessary for a spiritual mentor to lead a monastic life or 
devote himself to harsh and difficult conditions and devotions like 
perpetual fasting, spending the night in salat, practicing celibacy, 
avoiding delectable foods, and running off into the jungle or moun- 
tains, as many people of our time think is required to be a true sufi. 
This is because these acts fall under extremism in Din [tashaddud fi 
al-Din], and hardship on the self [tashaddud 'ala al-nafs] is not per- 
missible. The Blessed Prophet j& said, "One is never radical in Din 
but that he becomes subdued by it." 1 He also said, "Monasticism has 
no place in Islam." 2 


The conditions put by Shah Wall Allah Dehlawi for a spiritual mentor 
are comparatively harsher than those put by Shaikh ThanwI. Before Shah 
Wall Allah Dehlawi, the elders put their students through strict measures 
and harsh conditions before granting them successorship. This is known to 
any one who has read the biographies of the friends of Allah J@s. The story 
of Shah Abu Said Gangohl is well known and I have narrated it in many 
of my booklets. In summary, the story is that he went to Shah Nizam al- 
Dln Balkhl. When Shah Nizam al-Din learned that his mentor's grandson 
is about to arrive, he set out to receive him from one of the stations. Shah 
Nizam al-Din showed him the utmost respect and returned with him to 
Balkh. He sat him on an elevated place and himself sat in the servants 
area. When Shah Abu Said asked permission to leave, Shah Nizam al- 
Dln placed a gift of gold coins at his feet. Then Abu Said said, "Shaikh, I 
do not need these worldly things nor have I come here for this purpose. I 
want the [spiritual] wealth which you came and took from us." 3 No sooner 
had said this that Shah Nizam al-Din completely changed his attitude. 
He said harshly, "Go to the barn and prepare food for the hunting dogs." 
Thus, he was placed in charge of watching over the hunting dogs, and 
washing them, bathing them, and keeping them clean. Sometimes he was 
told to blow into the fires [to warm the water for the bathrooms] and at 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

other times to accompany his mentor on his hunting trips, holding the 
leashes of the hunting dogs while the Shaikh rode his horse. One of the 
servants was instructed, "Give the servant who lives in the barn two pieces 
of barley bread twice a day from the house." Now whenever Shah Abu 
Sa'ld came in the presence of Shah Nizam al-Dln, he would not look up at 
Shah Abu Sa'ld. He told Shah Abu Sa'ld to sit far from him and refused to 
acknowledge his presence when he came in. 

Once the Shaikh ordered the cleaning lady to purposely drop some 
garbage over him and note his reaction. When she passed by and purposely 
slipped some garbage over him he grew red with anger and said, "I would 
have showed you if we were in Gangoh." The cleaning lady informed the 
Shaikh of Shah Abu Sa'ld's response. The Shaikh said, "There is still some 
odor of arrogance in him." Two months later, the Shaikh ordered the clean- 
ing lady to do the same again. This time he [Shah Abu Sa'ld] only glared 
at her then quietly lowered his head. When the cleaning lady came and 
told the Shaikh, "Today, he did not say a thing. He glared at me and then 
lowered his head." The Shaikh said, "There is still some odor left." After a 
few months, he ordered the cleaning lady to "Throw a whole basket of cow 
dung on him until he is covered in it from head to toe." But now Shah Abu 
Sa'ld was spiritually purified. When she came and threw the whole basket 
over him, he stood up concerned and said humbly, "The poor woman hit 
me accidentally and fell. Tell me, are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere?" 
He then scooped up all the cow dung with his hands saying, "Here let 
me put this back in for you," and carefully put it back in the basket. The 
cleaning lady narrated the whole incident and said in astonishment, "To- 
day, instead of getting angry, Shah $ahib pitied me and scooped up all 
the dung and put it in the basket." The Shaikh said, "Now he is rectified." 

Later that day, Shah Nizam al-Dln sent a servant to Shah Abu Sa'ld, 
"Today we will go hunting, prepare the dogs for the trip." In the evening, 
the Shaikh rode out into the jungle with his servants. Fragile and sickly, 
Shah Abu Sa'ld was guiding the well-fed hunting dogs by their leashes. He 
tied the leashes to his waist and tried to hold them back but fell and was 
dragged on the jungle floor. Branches, thorns, and rocks bruised and cut 
his body, but not a sound came from his mouth. When the other servants 
pulled in the dogs and raised him to his feet he was trembling from fear 
that, "The Shaikh will be angry with me," and will say "You didn't follow 
my orders! Why didn't you control the dogs?" But the Shaikh was only 
testing him and this he had done. 

That night Shah Nizam al-Dln saw his spiritual mentor Shaikh Abd 
al-Quddus [Shah Abu Sa'ld's grandfather] in his dream. He [Shah Abd 


The Need for a Mentor and the Necessary Conditions for Becoming a Mentor 

al-Quddus] said to him sadly, "Nizam al-Dln, I didn't put you through as 
many exertions as you put my children through." Early the next morning 
Shah Nizam al-Dln called Shah Abu Sa'ld from the barn and hugged him. 
He then said, "I brought with me the bountiful blessings of the Chistiyya 
family from India, and you are now taking it back. May Allah 0i bless 
you, you may now go home." Thus, he granted Shah Abu Sa'ld successor- 
ship and sent him back to India. 

This story is summarized, the original being much longer. Many famous 
stories of spiritual exertions of this kind are found in the books of history, 
but our physical strength has given away and we do not have the faith 
of our predecessors. Therefore, the spiritual masters after Shaikh Thanwl 
have become very lenient in this matter. The Blessed Prophet j§* said to 
the Companions jjgb, 

- ' i 

\- ■ ' 1 V '»-> ' ■" 

You live in a time that one will be ruined if he does not fulfill a tenth 
of what is required of him, but a time will come when a person will be 
saved if he performs one tenth of what is required of him. 4 

In his commentary of Mishkat al-Masdbih, Mulla All Qarl writes 
"what is required" in the aforementioned hadith refers to enjoining the 
good and forbidding the evil. 

I [Shaikh Zakariyya] think it is a general statement and refers to all the 
commandments of Din. By 'does not fulfill' is meant lack of concentration 
and ihsan. In a hadith of Abu Ddwud, the Blessed Prophet jS said, "A per- 
son prays salat and one tenth the reward of salat is written for him while 
for others, up to half the reward of salat." 5 This deficiency is because of a 
lack of concentration and submissiveness in salat. 

Due to weakness in our faith and our inability to tolerate physical 
hardship, the spiritual masters have reduced the amount and intensity of 
the spiritual exertions and likewise the conditions for being a spiritual 
mentor. This topic is lengthy and though I feel like writing more on it, 
who is going to read it? Therefore, I shall stop writing. 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 



Shaikh Abu al-Hasan All Nadwl wrote a superb introduction to the book, 
Akabir ka Suluk aur Ihsdn [by Sufi Iqbal in Urdu]. I will reproduce it here 
and finish the chapter with his words. He says: 

When reading history, two common problems are faced by people 
in the field of [Islamic] ethics, academics, and the [Islamic] sciences 
and arts: 

i When the ways or methods by which objectives are achieved 
become objectives themselves 

2 When terminologies inhibit understanding of realities 

These methods and terminologies are extremely important. 
They are not accessories to the objectives, but rather evolve from 
them. Without them, these exalted objectives could not be propagat- 
ed or understood. Despite their importance though, terminologies 
or methodologies are never objectives, but rather agents in achieving 
the objectives. They are used temporarily for the attainment of the 
objectives and are occasionally emphasized more than the objectives 
they promote. However, when an expert in any field or science deems 
it appropriate, he will not only filter the terminologies and meth- 
odologies from the objectives, but even eliminate them completely. 
The expert will also try to maintain equilibrium between the termi- 
nologies and methodologies inhibiting the path to the objectives and 
guiding towards them. But one matter that must be understood is 
that this difficult stage came upon every exalted objective. In such 
cases, the methods often became the objectives and the terminolo- 
gies began inhibiting the path to realization and achievement of the 
objectives and its realities. 

Sometimes the objectives fade into the background as our em- 
phasis on the terminology increases, but worse than that, bitter expe- 
riences with standard-bearers of these terminologies and their misuse 
of these terminologies lead to gross misunderstandings about the ob- 
jectives. A great swath of people become so distrustful of these objec- 
tives, that convincing them of their greatness has become an arduous 
task. When you talk to them about the importance of acquiring 


The Need for a Mentor and the Necessary Conditions for Becoming a Mentor 

these objectives or try to remove their doubts about them, the meth- 
odologies which self-styled claimants have exaggerated and insisted 
upon, engulf them. These self-styled claimants became so obsessed 
with the methodologies that the objectives themselves are forgotten. 

Likewise, terminologies become an obstruction when people 
are called to the realities that are self-evident and in which there 
is no second opinion. The reality of such terminologies is that they 
evolve in certain conditions and circumstances; unlike the realities 
they serve, they are disposable and allow for a difference of opinion. 
They were devised to bring certain profound realities to the mind 
in a timed-release manner [so as to not immediately overburden the 
mind with heavy and deep concepts] and with certain objectives in 
the minds of their creators. The first standard-bearers of these reali- 
ties, whose lives were a living example of them, had no knowledge of 
these terminologies. They explained and implanted these realities in 
the consciousness of the people using different words, methods and 
styles. From Arabic morphology, Arabic syntax, the principles of fiqh, 
Arabic linguistics and rhetoric to purification of the heart and gnosis 
of Allah $ig., one who studies the history of these fields will learn 
that the earlier scholarship was different in many respects from later 
works. It will become clear that the earlier scholars were independent 
of these methodologies and thus were in control of their field. The 
later scholars, on the other hand, were dependent on the terminolo- 
gies and thus controlled by them. The authorities in these fields are 
the true propagators of the realities while the self-styled experts pris- 
oners and worshippers of the terminologies. In arts, academics, and 
ethics, the exalted objectives are and always have been a tribulation 
for their seekers throughout the centuries. 

Tasawwuf suffers the same problem. The objectives and reali- 
ties of Tasawwuf are an undeniable truth, but its terminologies and 
methodologies have becomes its greatest obstruction. The first ob- 
struction came by overuse of the methodology and the second by 
overemphasis on the terminology. 

Are good morals and sincerity important or not? Is increasing 
the faith to the level of certainty good or not? What about attain- 
ing virtuous qualities and eliminating wicked ones? What about be- 
ing saved from jealousy, hatred, keeping a grudge, love of wealth, 
love of the self, and other immoral traits? Is liberation from the 
clutches of the lower self that incites towards evil good or not? What 
about concentration in salat, crying in humbleness to Allah gg& in 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

supplication, and vigilance over the lower self? What about the most 
essential qualities for a believer like love for Allah 0* and his Blessed 
Prophet j§s? How about physically tasting the sweetness of love of 
Allah J®* and his Blessed Prophet j§i or in the least, to strive and work 
towards attaining love of Allah |ga and his Blessed Prophet j§i; be- 
ing honest in relations and transactions; truthfulness and trustwor- 
thiness; concern for fulfilling the rights of others; being in control 
of the lower self; self-control which prevents irrational behavior like 
exploding into a rage? Are these not traits we should strive to attain? 

Every decent and good-natured person, and especially a Mus- 
lim who does not have the blindfold of prejudice over his eyes will 
tell you the same thing: that these qualities are not only good, but 
are actually objectives of the Shari'a and that the teachings of the 
Quran and Sunna encourage us to attain these qualities. However, 
the moment it is explained to them that these qualities can be at- 
tained through a field known by the name of Tasawwuf, they will 
become upset. This is because of their repugnance for the terminol- 
ogy and also because of their observations and bitter experiences with 
the claimants and standard-bearers of this terminology. When the 
term is uttered, it revives their bad experiences with such claimants 
and their personal observations of them. But this is not a problem 
of Tasawwuf only. It is common to every field and art, for every 
revivalist movement and every pure and sincere objective. They have 
their share of true workers and propagators as well as claimants and 
pretenders. There are the genuine and the counterfeit, the masters 
and the self-styled experts, the experienced and the inexperienced, 
and the truthful and the hypocrites amongst them. However, an in- 
telligent person will not reject the objective, field, or art on the basis 
of this dichotomy. The same goes for worldly matters like business, 
farming, or a skill; there are the good and experienced and also the 
bad and inexperienced among them. But the way Allah Jg» runs the 
system of this world and His Din is that people take what they need. 
The pretenders do not prevent true seekers from achieving their ob- 
jectives, nor does a misunderstanding of the terminology turn those 
in search of the truth away from the reality. 

There are two groups in regards to Tasawwuf. The first group 
accepts the different aspects of Tasawwuf, but rejects it when they 
are incorporated under this name. Some of the objectives and charac- 
teristics we mentioned earlier are examples of goals/aims accepted by 
all in their individual form, but when incorporated under the name 


The Need for a Mentor and the Necessary Conditions for Becoming a Mentor 

of Tasawwuf, the first group is repulsed by it and says, "We don't 
believe in Tasawwuf; it is the source of corruption." 

The second group accepts the reality of Tasawwuf but only when 
it is given a different name. For example, if they are told that the 
Quranic term for this reality is purification of the heart [tazkiyya], 
ihsan in the ahadith, and jurisprudence of the esoteric [fiqh al-batin] 
in the words of later scholars, they say, "There is no reason to dis- 
agree with it and it is from the Qur'an and hadith." 

The problem is that the term Tasawwuf cannot be eliminat- 
ed from the books nor can we expect people to forget their ways 
[i.e. habit of usage of the term Tasawwuf] ['ways of the people' is 
also referred to as the manifestation of Allah 0i's voice because 
Allah 0z makes Himself heard through people], otherwise if we had 
our way we would call it ihsan and tazkiyya and would do away with 
the name Tasawwuf. However, this name has become the conven- 
tion and as often observed in different fields [history is full of such 
examples], the conventional name of a field predominates over its 
original name. 

The masters of each field always emphasized the objectives and 
kept the methodology secondary to them. Likewise, they boldly re- 
jected those elements which harmed the spirit of the respective field 
and its sublime objectives. In every era in the history of Islam, the 
teachers, propagators, and people of knowledge separated the flesh 
from the shell, the realities from the imaginary, and the objectives 
from the customs. From Shaikh Abd al-Qadir Jilani and Shaikh 
Shihab al-Dln Suhrwardi to Mujadid Alf-e-Thani, Shah Wall Allah 
Dehlawi, Sayyid Ahmad Shahid, Shaikh Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, 
and Shaikh Ashraf All Thanwi; they all emphasized the need to 
distinguish non-objectives from objectives and to separate the flesh 
from its shell. They also forcefully rebutted the customs and ritu- 
als that seeped in through mixing with Hindus and false sufis and 
which people eventually came to believe in as the pillars of Tasaw- 
wuf. Whether it is Shaikh Abd al-Qadir Jilani's Futuh al-Ghaib 
and Ghaniyyat al-Talibln, Shaikh Shihab al-Dln Suhrwardi's 'Awarif 
al-Ma'arif Shaikh Mujadid Alf-e-Thani's Maktubat-e-Rabbani, the 
work of Shah Wall Allah Dehlawi, Sayyid Ahmad Shahid 's Sirat al- 
Mustaqim, Shaikh Rashid Gangohi's Maktubat, or Shaikh Thanwi's 
Tarbiyat al-Salik and Qasd al-Sabil, one finds their articles and writ- 
ings drawing the line between truth and falsehood. Shah Wall Allah 
Dehlawi went as far as to say, "The nisba of the sufis is the greatest 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

blessing, but their customs [which are unproven in the Shari'a] hold 
no weight." Likewise, every one of these scholars emphasized, with- 
out exception, the importance of morals, dealing with others, and 
fulfilling the rights of others, and made these essential conditions 
for rectification of the heart and closeness to Allah Jgt. Their writ- 
ings consistently emphasized these points and their gatherings were 
centers for the propagation of this belief. 

I found the elders whose time I lived in, whom I was fortu- 
nate to meet [and whose lives convinced me of the righteousness of 
Tasawwuf], to be more than the embodiment of Tasawwuf, they 
were also exemplars of the Shari'a. Their morals mirrored the mor- 
als of the Blessed Prophet J& while their actions, their dealings with 
others, and their entire lives were perfect models of the Shari'a. I 
always saw them separating the methodologies from the objectives; 
they downplayed the terminologies, stressed the importance of the 
realities, ignored the customs, and rebuffed the innovations. Their 
adherence to the Sunna was not limited to the worship only; it also 
guided their habits and social dealings. They were not the followers 
but rather the mujtahids of this path of Tasawwuf; through their 
divine intuition and extensive experience they sometimes omitted 
or added, and selected or summarized the field of Tasawwuf. They 
discreetly prescribed treatments according to the attitude and dis- 
position of each seeker, and carefully considered the situation, the 
personality, and the preoccupations [of the seeker] in the preven- 
tion and treatment of spiritual illnesses. They were the founders, 
the spiritual guides, and the mujtahids of this field; they were the 
masters of their field, not those who submitted to it. Their main 
objective was to treat and revive the sick; they were not among 
those who followed the beaten path and repeated the lessons by 
rote. In their view, the true objectives of Tasawwuf included per- 
fecting one's morals, being true and honest in dealings with people, 
being moderate in disposition and behavior, controlling the lower 
self, sacrificing for others, submitting and adhering, being sincere, 
and ultimately attaining the pleasure of Allah Jg» in everything 
one did. The dhikr, spiritual exertions, bai'a, and company of the 
spiritual mentor are pursued to achieve these goals; and if none of 
these goals are achieved then all these efforts are in vain. [End of 
Shaikh Abu al-Hasan All Nadwi's quote] 


The Need for a Mentor and the Necessary Conditions for Becoming a Mentor 

Everything Shaikh Abu al-Hasan All Nadwl said is the truth. The elders 
[akabir] have said the same: that there is no disagreement in the objectives 
of Tasawwuf, only that some detest the name of Tasawwuf. People run 
from the name of Tasawwuf. Some of them run because of their ignorance 
of the objectives and others because of the way the word Tasawwuf has 
become associated, in their minds, with wrongful behavior. The whole 
eleventh volume of Ibn Taimiyya's fatwas is about the subject of Tasawwuf. 
He writes: 

The name sufis was not known in the third century but became 
famous sometime after. This word is found in the writings of the 
imams and spiritual mentors like Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Abu 
Sulaiman Daranl, Sufyan Thauri, and also Hasan Basri. The schol- 
ars disagree on the etymology of the word. 

After narrating various opinions, he says: 

This word is associated with the wearing of wool [suf]. The first ap- 
pearance of a group of sufis was in the city of Basra and the first to 
open a sanctum were the students of Abd al-Wahid ibn Zaid... and 
Abd al-Wahid ibn Zaid was one of the successors of Hasan Basri. Of 
all places, Basra was the city where people were the most austere, pi- 
ous, and God-fearing and this is how the saying, "Fiqh is a dweller of 
Kufa and worship a dweller of Basra" was born. 

Then, Ibn Taimiyya narrates various incidents of the sufis of Basra. 
These incidents explain how some would fall unconscious and sometimes 
even die while reciting the Quran. Some of the elders of the time opposed 
this type of behavior thinking it was pretentious while others argued it had 
no precedent in the Companions jSgb. The view of the majority of scholars 
is that a person who says or does something while spiritually unconscious 
cannot be denounced. Though, the person who controls his state and does 
not fall unconscious is better.When Imam Ahmad was asked about un- 
consciousness [ghasht] and spiritual ecstasy [wajd] he said, "Once when 
someone recited the Quran to Yahya ibn Sa'ld Qattan, he fell unconscious. 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

If anyone was able to control himself at such a time it would be Yahya ibn 
Said because I have never seen anyone as intelligent as him." 

It is also narrated about Imam Shafi'l that he fell unconscious, and the 
story of 'All ibn Fudail ibn Ayyad is also well-known. In brief, these types 
of incidents also happened with the most respected of the pious predeces- 
sors whom we trust in their integrity and piety. 

The description of the different states of the Companions jjgt are men- 
tioned in the Quran; these states are higher than those which have been 
previously mentioned, like the trembling of their hearts and shedding 
tears, etc. But people whose hearts have hardened and rusted and who 
have no attachment to Din have even objected to this. They are the worst 
type of people. 

On the other hand, there are those who believe they [those who fall 
unconscious and who cannot keep their bearings] held the most perfect 
spiritual state. Both these two groups [the ones who object and those who 
believe they held the most perfect spiritual state] stand in two opposite 
poles — one in excessiveness [ifrat] and the other remissness [tafrlt]. But if 
we look further, there are actually three positions in this matter. The first 
are the transgressors of the self [zalim al-nafs] who have hardness of heart. 
They are the people whose hearts are not affected by recitation of Quran 
or by remembrance of Allah 0i, and they are like the People of the Book 
when Allah 0i said of them: 

> » s - > 

Then, after that, your hearts were hardened'^ 

The second are the god-fearing believers whose hearts are weak. They 
cannot withstand the spiritual feelings that overwhelm them [when recit- 
ing Quran and remembering Allah 0i]. They fall unconscious and some- 
times die because of the weakness of their heart and the intensity of the 
descent of a spiritual meaning that overwhelms them. 

Such states are not confined to the Din only, but can also be observed 
in matters of the material world, e.g. in extreme joy or grief. There is 
neither sin for their reaction nor any reason to be doubtful of their con- 
dition if there is no deficiency in this respect. "If there is no deficiency" 
means that he lost consciousness or died from something that was not in 
violation of the Shari'a, such as listening to recitation of the Quran. In 
this manner, he was overwhelmed by a feeling that is termed intoxication 


The Need for a Mentor and the Necessary Conditions for Becoming a Mentor 

[sakr] and the passing away of the self [fana], or something of that kind 
by which he fell unconscious involuntarily. His unconsciousness is not 
objectionable and he is excused if the thing which induced unconscious- 
ness was not forbidden. 

The fatwa in this situation is that a person is praiseworthy if these 
temporal states [abwal] are brought on by acts that are not forbidden 
and in the state that the person is a true believer, but is unable to control 
himself. Likewise, he is excusable for any condition like that of uncon- 
sciousness that befalls him. The people in this class are higher in status 
than those who do not reach this state because of the weakness of their 
faith or hardness of their heart. Though they [the ones who fall uncon- 
scious] are higher than the people who have hardness of heart or are weak 
in their faith [and who are not affected by recitation of the Quran etc.] 
they are of a lower and less perfect state than the believers struck by the 
same exuberant feelings [that lead to unconsciousness] but who keep 
their bearings and do not fall unconscious. The last type of people [who 
do not fall unconscious when struck by such exuberant feelings] are the 
Companions dgi. and the Blessed Prophet Jgs. The Blessed Prophet Jk 
ascended the heavens in the ascension [miraj] and experienced incredible 
events, but his condition did not change. Thus, the Blessed Prophet's J|, 
spiritual state was better than Musa's 3S£ who fell unconscious after see- 
ing the revelation of Allah 0» on Mount Tur. Undoubtedly, the spiritual 
state of Musa ^ was exalted, but the Blessed Prophet's j§& was greater 
and more perfect. 

Anyhow, states of this kind, induced by intense fear of Allah $jfr, first 
occurred in Basra, and since such people wore wool [suf] they became 
known as the sufis. But their path and ways are in no way symbolized by 
the wearing of wool; this attribution was only because of their outward 
appearance. Tasawwuf to them was the name of some realities and spe- 
cific spiritual states. They have written much on what it means to be a 
sufi and the way of life of a sufi. For example, some said a sufi is one who 
is pure and all impurities have been removed from him; he is perpetually 
engrossed in the remembrance of Allah 0z, and silver, gold, pebbles and 
dirt are all equal in his sight. Some say Tasawwuf means hiding spiritual 
meanings and refraining from making claims. There are many other simi- 
lar explanations of this kind. These people eventually attain the level of 
the veracious [siddiq] and the veracious ones are the best of creation after 
the Prophets of Allah .Jgs. They are the very roots of Tasawwuf. After this, 
people changed and branched out into three distinct types: 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

The sufis of Good Character [Sufiyyat al-Khalaiq\: They are the group 
mentioned above. 

The Materialist sufis [Sufiyyat al-Arzdq]: They live in the sanctum and 
few of them have knowledge of the realities of Tasawwuf. For them, there 
are three conditions: 

i They fulfill the obligations of Din and abstain from all pro- 
hibited acts. 

2 They possess the proprieties of the elders of this path. 

3 They do not involve themselves in the material world more 
than is required. They possess good qualities and do not 
hoard wealth or commit sins. 

Pretenders: They are only sufi by name. Their purpose is nothing more 
than wearing the dress of the sufis and contriving new things, etc. They 
are like an ignoramus wearing the dress of a scholar or martyr. They have 
learned a few words and sayings from here and there and convince people 
that they are also sufis, though they are nothing of the sort. 


Shaikh Shihab al-Dln Suhrwardl mentions the hadith of Ibn 'Umar ^ [in 
his book] that the Blessed Prophet j§& said, "Everything has a key and the 
key to Paradise is love for the downtrodden [masakin]. These people will be 
in the company of Allah $&, on the Day of Judgment." 

Thus, dependence on Allah 0z [faqar] is one major aspect of 
Tasawwuf and Tasawwuf stands on dependence on Allah 0z. Shaikh 
Ruwaim said: 

Tasawwuf is based on three qualities: 

i To be imbued with dependence and powerlessness [ihtiaj] 

2 To spend in the path of Allah 0i and to sacrifice for Him 

3 To refrain from involvement in others' affairs and to abstain 
from whatever one loves. 


The Need for a Mentor and the Necessary Conditions for Becoming a Mentor 

Shaikh Junaid was once asked, "What is Tasawwuf?" He replied, "To 
establish a direct relationship with Allah 0&" and Shaikh Ma'ruf Karkhl 
said, "Tasawwuf means to understand the realities and to lose hope in 
what others have." Therefore, whoever has not attained the quality of de- 
pendence on Allah 0z, his Tasawwuf is not true Tasawwuf. Shaikh Hasan 
BasrI said, "I met seventy Companions jH> who participated in the battle 
of Badr who wore j-«/"[wool]." [i.e, they depended exclusively on Allah 0z] 


i Bukhari, al-Dtn Yusr 

2 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaiba, 3/270, Tafslr al-Razi, 6/134 

3 Shah Nizam al-Din gained purification of heart from his shaikh who was Shah Abu 
Sa'id's grandfather. Shah Abu Sa'id is now asking Shah Nizam al-Din to grant him 
the spiritual wealth he had taken from his grandfather. 

4 Mishkat al-Masdbih, p. 31 

5 Abu Dawud, Majd'fi Nuqsan al-Salat 

6 2:72 


Chapter Thirteen 



The greatest of all meditative devotions is the dhikr of Allah $&. and 
the greatest of dhikrs is the testament of faith, la ilaha ilia Allah. This 
is why dhikr is central to all the paths [Chishtiyya, Naqshbandiyya etc.] 
though the methodology differs amongst them. It is similar to how tra- 
ditional doctors prescribe different dosages of a medicine with specific 
instructions. For example, I have observed a strange thing amongst the 
traditional doctors that a patient is prescribed something by one doctor 
but does not get better. He goes to another doctor who keeps the same 
prescription, but makes small changes in the dosage and timing. It is 
amazing that he became better after a few small changes to the same 
prescription. I have seen this happen not once but many times. 

Below is a letter reproduced from Tadhkirat al-Rashid, in which Shai- 
kh Rashld Gangohl responds to Shaikh Thanwi [who compared the con- 
ditions for permissibility of celebration of the Blessed Prophet's j§i birth 
[mllad] to the restrictions and specifications in meditative devotions {that 
are means of achieving the nisba of Allah $$>}]: 

The specifications and restrictions devised by the spiritual mas- 
ters in the meditative devotions are not innovations. It is shocking 


Meditative Devotions and Temporal Spiritual States 

from someone as intelligent as yourself to make analogies between 
the conditions for the permissibility of celebration of the Blessed 
Prophet's j§i birth upon the meditative devotions when you know 
that attainment of a nisba is an order of Allah 0t [ma'mur min Allah] 
while celebration of the Blessed Prophet's j§i birth is not. Although 
this order of Allah ^gt is a 'doubtful universal' [kulll mushaqqiqY 
the lowest state of which is obligatory [iman] and the highest desir- 
able [ihsan], it is incorrect to analogize celebration of the Blessed 
Prophet's j§& birth, which is an innovation, with the meditative de- 
votions. Numerous ahadith and ayas prove that attaining a nisba is 
an order of Allah Jgjs. Allah 0a [in the ayas of the Qur'an] and the 
Blessed Prophet j§s [in the ahadith] demonstrated the nisba in every 
way possible by which it becomes abundantly clear that the whole 
Shari'a is actually a manifestation of the nisba. This is something 
we cannot dwelve into because it would become a lengthy discus- 
sion. If you think deeply you will observe how every aya and hadith 
[implictly or explicitly] manifests the nisba. 

Therefore, when there is so much overwhelming evidence of it being 
an order of Allah 0-, then the methods devised and specified to fulfill this 
order of Allah 0a will also be an order of Allah 0a. 

One method may be favored over another depending on the times. 
Thus, in one period, the nisba was easily achieved through salat, recita- 
tion of the Qur'an, and the dhikrs narrated in the ahadith. Though the 
newly devised methods of meditative devotions were permissible during 
that period, they were certainly not necessary to achieve the nisba. How- 
ever, after some time, people changed [i.e., the faith became weak, taqwa 
disappeared and people became enamored with the material world] and 
it became worse successively as time passed and as people moved further 
away from the time of the golden era. The method of nisba achieved in 
such an era would differ from the method of nisba achieved in the golden 
era. In this period, the nisba could not be achieved through salat or fasting, 
therefore the physicians of the esoteric devised certain conditions, fine- 
tuning the amount and frequency of dhikr and other such things accord- 
ing to the people of that time. Since the nisba in this period could not be 
achieved in any other way, these conditions and specifications cannot be 
called innovations in Din. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that it was 
obligatory because the attainment of an objective of Din was not possible 
without them. Since the objective [attaining a strong nisba through ihsan] 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

is an order of Allah $g», the method [meditative devotions] of attaining it 
also became an order of Allah 0*. Thus, it cannot be called an innovation. 

Likewise, with the passage of time, another generation of people came 
who were weaker than the last, and thus the method by which the nis- 
ba was achieved would differ greatly from the people before them. Once 
again, the method of attaining the nisba was modified and revised to help 
achieve the main objective. With the passing of time this paradigm re- 
peated itself and modifications were made in the methods of achieving the 
nisba. It is like a traditional doctor prescribing a treatment in the winter 
which, if prescribed in the summer, would become deadly. Thus, a change 
of weather forces a change in the type of treatment. The treatments used 
a hundred years ago, found in the older books of medicine, are not potent 
enough to treat people today. Modifications in these treatments comply 
with the basic principles of traditional medicine though it opposes the pre- 
scribed treatment which it modifies. In reality, this modification will not 
be considered an innovation, but rather a fulfillment of the basic principles 
of traditional medicine. 

Another example of this is exalting the name of Allah 0.. You know 
that spears, swords, and even stones fulfilled the military objective in the 
past. The use of these weapons is even proven in the ahadlth, yet arming 
oneself with these weapons today is suicide. Today, one must use guns, 
rifles, and tanks [during battle, instead of using swords, bows and ar- 
rows] because it is impossible to reach the objective of exalting the name of 
Allah 0i [to preserve peace and justice] without them. Yet, no one calls 
these changes innovations or declares them forbidden on the basis that 
it is imitation of the disbelievers. In fact, we consider employing of ar- 
maments obligatory, necessary and an order from Allah 0- because the 
objective cannot be achieved without them. Thus, these things in them- 
selves become an order from Allah 0i; likewise is the case with meditative 

Of the dhikrs, the most important is the statement of faith. Abu Sa'ld 
Khudri -3^ narrates that the Blessed Prophet j§s said, "Once, Musa }g£ said 
in the court of Allah 0., 'Teach me some dhikr by which I remember 
you and call you.' [He was told] 'Say la ilaha ilia Allah! Musa yg& replied, 
'Everyone in the world says this.' Allah 0* said, 'Say la ilaha ilia Allah! 'O 
Allah 0-, I ask for something for myself only,' replied Musa jSL To this, 
Allah 0- responded, 'If the whole sky and earth are put on one arm of a 
balance and the statement of faith on the other, the arm upon which the 
statement of faith is placed will be weightier.'" 2 


Meditative Devotions and Temporal Spiritual States 

I have mentioned many ahadlth on the virtues, excellence, and importance 
of the statement of faith '7/5 ilaha ilia Allah" in my book Fada'il al-Dhikr. 
One of the ahadlth is narrated by Jabir ^ that the Blessed Prophet j§& said, 
"The best of dhikr is la ilaha ilia Allah." 3 Mulla 'All Qarl says, "There is 
no doubt that the most excellent of all dhikrs is la ilaha ilia Allah because 
the entire Din is balanced on the fulcrum of this statement of faith." This 
is why the sufis particularly emphasize the statement of faith and prefer it 
over all other dhikrs. They stress the use of this statement of faith the most 
because its benefits and blessings are not to be found in any other dhikr. 

The Blessed Prophet j§& said, "Constantly revive your faith." The 
Companions £§k asked, "How do we do that O Blessed Prophet j§&?" "Re- 
cite the statement of faith abundantly." 4 The spiritual masters prescribe 
this dhikr in different ways similar to the way physicians prescribe dif- 
ferent medicines for different illnesses. The "twelve tasblh" is common 
among the Chishtiyya. First, is la ilaha ilia Allah two-hundred times, then 
ilia Allah four hundred times, then Allahu Allah six-hundred times, and 
finally Allah, one-hundred times. 


Shaikh Thanwl writes in al-Takashshuf: 

Some people object to the dhikr of 'ilia Allah' ['except Allah Jiga'] 
that the 'exception' [mustathnd] without the 'exception from' [mus- 
tathnd minhu\ and the governing noun/verb [amil] is meaningless. 
They say that if it doesn't increase reward and is meaningless, then 
why recite it? 

In reply: the Blessed Prophet J® said in the sermon at the con- 
quest of Makka, "The grass of the Sacred Precinct [al-Haram] should 
not be cut." Abbas £§t asked, "O Blessed Prophet j§5>, except sweet 
rush [a type of grass] [idhkhar]V The Blessed Prophet j§i replied, 
"Except sweet rush." 5 In this hadith, "except sweet rush" proves that 
the governing noun/verb ['dmil] and 'exception from' [musthand mi- 
nhu] can be omitted if there is a valid reason to do so. Thus, dropping 
the governing noun/verb, Id, and the 'exception from', ildha, from 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

ilia Allah is validated by the fact that it was mentioned previously or 
that the belief of the recitor furnishes the missing governing noun/ 
verb and 'exception from'. 6 

Another reply is that the dhikr of la ilaha ilia Allah preceded the 
dhikr of ilia Allah. Thus, each time ilia Allah is recited the govern- 
ing noun/verb and the 'exception from' will be included implicitly. 
When there is no proof that repetition of ilia Allah is restricted to 
any specific amount, thus the more one recites the better and more 
effective. Therefore, it is narrated that the Companions t$fc. said in 
certain instances, 

The Blessed Prophet jfe repeated it until we wished he were quiet. 7 

Examples of such repetition are observed in the ahadith. In one 
incident, a disbeliever said the statement of faith in the battlefield 
as Usama ^ was raising his sword to kill him. Usama £§t still went 
ahead and killed him, assuming he said the statement of faith to 
save his life. When the Blessed Prophet Jp heard of this, he called 
Usama J^ and asked him, "How are you going to respond when be 
brings the statement of faith on the Day of Judgment," 8 and repeated 
this several times. 

In one chapter of Mishkat al-Masabih, the Blessed Prophet j§s 
said, "There is one such act by which Allah 0* will elevate the lev- 
el of his servants in Paradise, the distance between each level be- 
ing equivalent to the distance between the earth and the skies." A 
Companion ^ asked, "What is it O Blessed Prophet j&>?" The 
Blessed Prophet §& replied, "Struggle in the path of Allah Jgs, strug- 
gle in the path of Allah 0i, struggle in the path of Allah 0i\" 9 

He repeated it three times. There are hundreds of such ahadith 
in the books known to the teachers and students of ahadith in which 
one word is mentioned repeatedly. 

Likewise, some people object to the dhikr of Allah 0t, Allah $g»' 
because they say Allah Jtfe' is singular. They say that when it is nei- 
ther informative \khabriyya\ nor formative [insha'i] 10 then what is its 
benefit? However, if we look in the hadith we find the blessed name 
of Allah 0z used in the singular as in the narration of Muslim, "The 
Day of Judgment will not occur until there is none in the world to 


Meditative Devotions and Temporal Spiritual States 

say Allah 0z, Allah 0?." u As this hadith indicates, it is permissible 
to say the name of Allah Jgs repeatedly. It should also be known that 
a meaning of a word should not be judged linguistically only [i.e. 
as formative and informative]. After all, how can it be meaningless 
when the purpose is to gain blessings and benefit? Allah 0z says: 

And remember the name of your Lord.™ 

In this aya, the dhikr of our Creator includes utterance of His 
name. Another explanation for this is that the vocative noun [harfal- 
nida\ has been omitted as is common in the Arabic language. Men- 
tion of the vocative [as in saying 'O Allah 0z] is to indicate yearning 
[shauq] for something whereas the omission of it (as in Allah 0t by 
itself) is for enjoyment. 

Shaikh Thanwl writes in Bawadir: 

The closest thing to my heart on this topic is the example of when 
someone recites the Qur'an. When someone reads the Quran for 
recitation, he is obligated to recite the way it has been transmitted 
to us [through the pious predecessors]. Reciting in any other way is 
an innovation. Though, sometimes the purpose of reading Qur'an is 
not to recite but to memorize. The example of this is how one word 
or aya is repeated several times. One is not obligated to know the 
method of the pious predecessors in memorizing the Qur'an. We are 
not required to find out how the pious predecessors used to memo- 
rize the Qur'an and make sure we follow the transmitted method. 

Likewise, in the dhikr, sometimes the dhikr itself is the objective. 
If this is the case, then one must take care to follow the transmitted 
method. However, if the purpose is not worship but to achieve a cer- 
tain state [ihsan], then it is not conditional to follow a methodology 
of the pious predecessors [even if there is one]. Now, the prescribed 
repetitions of ilia Allah and Allah 0i are not objectives. The purpose 
of these prescribed repetitions is to create and establish a certain feel- 
ing; and that is that nothing besides Allah 0i exists, and to slowly 
increase one's concentration on Allah 0z alone. Therefore, in the 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

beginning [before we begin the dhikr] we perceive the existence of 
everything around us but as we impress the dhikr of 'there is no 
god but Allah Jig* [la ilaha ilia Allah]' we negate the existence of 
everything around us and instill this negation into our heart. As we 
progress in this negation, we inculcate the certainty of His essence 
in our mind by repeating the dhikr of ilia Allah. But certainty of the 
essence of Allah 0z is itself relative to the essence of Allah 0i so we 
reach higher for the essence of Allah Jg« itself by firmly embedding 
Him in the heart through the dhikr of Allahu Allah's/hen one de- 
votes himself to the dhikr of Allahu Allah', the love of everything be- 
sides Allah .Jgs leaves the heart and this person becomes absorbed in 
Allah 0i only. When this feeling permeates the heart, the dhikr of 
Allahu Allah' intensifies and helps him realize his goal quickly; and 
this is the reason for which the dhikr of Allah 0z is prescribed. 

By the grace of Allah 0i, this article removes all objections on 
this topic and proves that the accusation about the dhikr of Allah Jig* 
being an innovation stems from a lack of understanding on this issue. 
Now only one question remains and that is that will one gain reward 
for this type of dhikr? In reply, we ask: Will the person who repeats 
the words of the Quran to memorize it, gain reward for memoriza- 
tion? The answer to the first is the same for the second. According 
to the rules, the combined answer to both these questions is that 
though one may not gain reward for repeating recitation [of an aya] 
and dhikr, preparation for a perfect recitation and dhikr [in which 
one attains full benefit spiritually] is surely rewarding. 


Meditative Devotions and Temporal Spiritual States 


1 A term of logic made up of two parts, 'doubtful' [mushaqqaq] and 'universal' [kulll]. 

Universal — is that which is contrary to a particular. For example, faith is common 
to all Muslims; therefore, faith is a universal. 

Doubtful — is the meaning of that noun which applies to some of an individual 
kind [e.g., man] more forcibly, and in preference to others. For example, the nisba 
is universal to all Muslims [because without it one would not be Muslim] but is 
more pronounced in some Muslims than others, such as the friends of Allah. The 
aforementioned discussion proves that nisba is a 'doubtful universal.' 

2 Mustadrak, Kitab al-Dua wa al-Takbir 

3 Tirmidhi, Mkja anna Da'wat al-Muslim 

4 Musnad Ahmad, 14/327 | Mustadrak , Kitab al-Tauba wa al-Inaba 

5 Bukhari, al-Idhkar wa al-Hashish fi al-Qabr 

6 Since every Muslim believes 'there is no God but Allah $&', his saying ilia Allah (but 
Allah 0z) will spell out as meaning 'there is no God but Allah jgs.' 

7 Bukhari, A/a Qdlafi Shahadat al-Zur 

8 Muslim, Tahrim Qatl al-Kafir 

9 Muslim, Baydn ma A'adda Allah li al-Mujahid 

10 Informative — is a sentence which provides information of any kind. 

Formative — is a sentence which seeks to produce new information e.g, a question, 
an order, or exclamation. 

11 Muslim, Dhihab al-Iman 

12 73:8 


Shari'a & TarIqa 

/o y 

Chapter Fourteen 




Another name for visualization of the mentor [tasawwur-e-shaikh] is 
shugl-e-rabita, barzakh, and wasita [in Urdu] 1 . Visualization of the men- 
tor is one of the most important meditative devotions to the masters 
of Suluk and they have praised it for its various benefits. Some of the 
elders forbade it except under certain circumstances. However, this is 
not correct in this servant's opinion because of the numerous ahadlth in 
evidence of it. Therefore, I cannot understand those who say it is forbid- 
den. In regards to applying perfume in the state of wearing haj attire 
[ihrdm], 'A'isha £ft says: 

Jl*j «uU- «usl ^a ^^JSl oy^ ^j> ^-r^ ij^j (Jl y*>\ ^j^ 

I can almost see the glint of perfume in the parting of the Blessed 
Prophet's j§i hair. 3 

In a narration by Ibn Mas'ud jjt in al-Takashshuf, [with references 
from Bukhdrl and Muslim], he says: 


Visualization of the Mentor 

It is as if I see the Blessed Prophet jti. 3 

'Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud ^ is narrating this hadith while recalling how 
once the Blessed Prophet j§& narrated a story of one of the prophets who 
was murdered by his people. 

Under the chapter of 'the narrations on silver rings', Abu Dawiid 
narrates a hadith by All ^ that the Blessed Prophet j§i said, "Read this 
supplication often: Allahumma ahdirii wa saddidnl (O Allah 0z, give me 
guidance and make me steadfast). When you say, ahdirii (give me guid- 
ance) visualize the path of guidance and when you say, saddidnl (make me 
steadfast) visualize the straightening of an arrow." 4 

In Badhl al-Majhud, my spiritual mentor and guide, Shaikh Khalll 
Ahmad Saharanpurl, explained: 

By 'imagine yourself on the path of guidance' try to visualize a per- 
son walking on a straight path without turning right or left. If he 
turns right or left, he cannot reach his destination. Likewise, when 
imagining guidance, think that walking straight is a condition for 
reaching the destination. When you say 'saddid' and imagine 'the 
straightening of an arrow,' imagine that Allah $fc is rectifying and 
removing any crookedness that is within me. 

In the commentary of Abu Dawiid, Shaikh Rashld Ahmad Gangohi 


The reason the Blessed Prophet j§i asked us to imagine these things is 
to keep our thoughts focused. And also because visualizing tangible 
objects is easier than visualization of intangible ones. The reason the 
Blessed Prophet j§& told us that one should imagine an arrow and a 
path while supplicating is to prevent stray thoughts from distracting 
a person. This also indicates the permissibility of visualizing ones 
mentor because the status of a spiritual mentor is certainly not lower 
than an arrow. There is also no harm in love of the mentor entering 
the heart when he is visualizing him. However, it is dangerous and 
harmful to imagine the spiritual mentor actually effecting changes 
in the heart, to believe he is omnipresent, or that he is aware of his 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

inner state. This is why the spiritual masters disagree about visualiza- 
tion of the spiritual mentor. This discussion though is only rhetorical 
because those who say it is permissible are looking at the first part 
while those who say it is forbidden are referring to the latter issue [i.e., 
to believe the spiritual mentor is ever-present]. Though when the 
later scholars saw that it lead to corruption in the belief of Muslims, 
they forbade it in general, and this is correct in light of the condition 
of the community. 

There are many narrations of this kind in the books of ahadlth. In 
Hayat al-Sahaba, under the chapter of 'the reality of faith', the Blessed 
Prophet j§i asks Harith ibn Malik i§^ in his narration, "How was your 
morning?" He replied, "In the state of being a true believer." The Blessed 
Prophet jfi asked, "What is the reality of your true faith?" He replied, "I 
turned away from the world... and I see the throne of my Lord and the 
dwellers of Paradise visiting each other; I also hear the screaming of the 
dwellers of Hellfire." 

The Blessed Prophet j§s. said, "He is a believer whose heart has been 
illuminated." 5 

In another narration he asked Muadh $± the same question. He re- 
plied, "I woke up in the state of faith." The Blessed Prophet j§& asked him, 
"What is the reality of your faith?" He replied, "When I wake up in the 
morning, I see a nation on its knees. They are being called toward their 
book of deeds along with their prophets and the idols they worshipped. I 
see the punishment of the dwellers of Hellfire and the reward of the dwell- 
ers of Paradise." 6 

In Shama'il, 'Aun ibn Abl Juhaifa narrates from his father, "I saw the 
Blessed Prophet j§& in red clothing. I can almost see the radiance of his 
blessed ankles before my very eyes." 7 Likewise, Anas jj& narrates, "I can see 
the white gleam of his ring before my very eyes." 8 There are numerous nar- 
rations related to visualization of different things in the books of ahadlth. 
For this reason, it is difficult to say that visualization of the spiritual men- 
tor is completely forbidden, though it will be forbidden if it leads to some- 
thing forbidden. Otherwise, it is an excellent antidote for stray thoughts 
and a person stricken by blind love [for a woman]. 


Visualization of the Mentor 


In Tdlim al-Din, it says: 

The books on this subject state this much: that visualization of the 
countenance of the spiritual mentor and his qualities develops love 
in the heart and strengthens the nisba with his Lord; and this strong 
nisba produces many blessings. Some of the authorities in this field 
say little [on the subject of visualization of the mentor] except that 
one thought repels another. So, visualizing one's mentor repels the 
stray thoughts and navigates the thought towards Allah 0-. 

Anyhow, whatever benefits and wisdom there may be in visualization 
of the spiritual mentor, my experience has shown me that this spiritual 
devotion is beneficial for the advanced and perilous for the novices be- 
cause it takes them towards image-worship. Imam Ghazall and other au- 
thorities in the science of Tasawwuf prohibit the general public and the 
feebleminded from performing any devotions which produce clairvoyance. 
Therefore, the public should be stopped from this and if the advanced 
and more knowledgeable try this they should be careful not to exceed its 
boundaries. They should not believe their mentor watches over them or is 
there to help them in times of need. However, it is possible for one to see 
his mentor when he visualizes him regularly. Sometimes, the image he sees 
is a figment of his imagination, but at other times, an inspiration from 
Allah 0* that appears in the form of his spiritual mentor, though the men- 
tor himself is unaware of it. Many people make mistakes in this regard. 

Shaikh MadanI writes: 

Visualization of the mentor prevents one from the whisper of Satan 
and evil thoughts, and produces remarkable feelings, though the 
spiritual mentor is completely unaware of it. The mentor is neither 
intending to help him nor is his attention turned towards his student. 
These are natural influences that Allah 0z has created to save one 
from the whispers of Satan and to allow the blessings of Allah 0z to 
descend upon him. Since people often err in this matter, the wise ones 
[hukama] are exceptionally careful in this regard otherwise, from the 
Shari'a viewpoint, numerous narrations prove it is permissible. 


Sharj'a &TarIqa 
In another letter, Shaikh MadanI writes: 

Though Shah Ismail Shahld 9 prohibited visualization of the spiri- 
tual mentor as it produced negative consequences at times, it was 
narrated to me through Shah 'Abd al-Ghanl Mujaddadi that he 
was not opposed to it. When some of his confidants asked of its 
permissibility, he narrated the hadith of Hasan ^ as evidence 
in which Hasan j^, asked his [maternal] uncle Hind ibn Abi 
Hala £§,, "I asked about the countenance and [physical] attributes 
of the Blessed Prophet J&.' 10 This clearly proves that he wished to 
replicate an image of the Blessed Prophet j§& in his mind and this 
is exactly what visualization is." This hadith is narrated in detail in 
Shamd'il al-Tirmidhl, and if one wishes to read the translation he 
may refer to my book, Khasa'il al-Nabawl. In the commentary of 
this hadith it says, "I wished he would narrate some of his beauti- 
ful attributes to me that I make their mention a source of love and 
connection for myself, and if possible I will make effort to imbue 
these attributes within me." 

In another place Shaikh MadanI writes: 

To create an image of something in Arabic is called tasawwur [visu- 
alization], regardless of whether the image is animate or inanimate, 
a specific person or any person, any mentor or one's own mentor, 
mothers or fathers, and regardless of whether the visualizing of this 
image is beneficial or not. In convention, however, visualization 
of the mentor refers to creating and then maintaining the image 
of an exalted mentor. By consensus, it is permissible to create and 
envision an image of one's Shaikh. In fact, it is beneficial. The 
Companions jj§t and the Blessed Prophet j§& were favorable towards 
it; Hasan J^. also asked his uncle Hind ibn Abi Hala ^ on many 
occasions about the Blessed Prophet j§& and created an image in his 
mind through the description he was given. The Blessed Prophet |§s 
also described the clothing and characteristics of Musa 3g£, Isa 3@, 
and Ibrahim 3g£ to the Companions jj§b, which clearly proves that 
the purpose was to create an image of these blessed prophets in the 
minds of the Companions jj§b. 


Visualization of the Mentor 

After this, Shaikh MadanI narrates many ahadlth in which the Blessed 
Prophet j§j described the countenance, characteristics, and traits of the 
different prophets of Allah 0*. Therefore, in one narration the Blessed 
Prophet Jp says about Musa sSI, "He was of darker complexion and with 
curly hair, as if I see him at this moment riding a red camel and passing 
through a valley" 11 

Shaikh MadanI comments: 

Many authentic narrations of this kind not only prove the permissi- 
bility of visualization of the spiritual mentor, but also indicate that it 
is desirable and has many benefits. Otherwise, had it been forbidden, 
the Blessed Prophet j§& would not have described them and would 
have unequivocally forbade it. It is because of these benefits that the 
spiritual mentors instituted visualization of the mentor and designed 
a methodology to derive its full benefits. 


Shaikh al-Haj Imdad Allah wrote to his successor, Shaikh Qasim Nanautwl: 

If time permits, sit in solitude after Fajr, Maghrib, or 'Isha salat in 
a room, empty out your heart of all thoughts, and focus on this: 
Imagine yourself sitting in front of your spiritual mentor and that 
the bountiful blessings of Allah are transferring from his heart to 
yours. If you enjoy it and feel like continuing, then do so; otherwise 
do dhikr of Allah in negation [la Ilaha] and affirmation [ilia Al- 
lah] in a mid-tone. Continue this for approximately two hours. 

In another letter to Shaikh Nanautwl, he writes: 

If you have time after Fajr or Maghrib, spend a little time in medita- 
tion [muraqaba]. Envision yourself sitting in front of your spiritual 
mentor and that something is emanating from his heart into yours. If 
Allah wills, there will be spiritual attention on you from this side 
[i.e., from al-Haj Imdad Allah]. If the mercy of Allah is with us 
you will see benefit, if Allah wills. Please do not worry. 


Sharj'a &TarJqa 
Shah Wall Allah Dehlawl says in al-Qaul al-Jamll: 

The spiritual masters of the Chishtiyya say the greatest objective is to 
imbue the heart with love and respect for the mentor and to visual- 
ize it. I tell you that there are manifestations of Allah Jg*. Thus, He 
manifests Himself as the worshipped one before the feebleminded 
and intelligent when they worship Him. In view of His greatness 
and secrets, the Shari'a has explained His being in the direction of 
the qibla and sitting on the throne [arsh]. The Blessed Prophet jfs> 
said, "Do not spit in front of you whenever anyone of you prays salat 
because Allah 0i is between him and the qibla." O seeker, there is 
no harm if you set your sight on and hope in none but Allah 0i. Also 
there is no harm in you imagining nothing but His throne and the 
light surrounding His throne. This light is bright like the illumined 
hue of the moon. Also, there is no harm if you do not concentrate 
yourself on anything but the qibla. The permissibility of all this is 
indicated in the aforementioned hadith; and one has practiced upon 
this hadith if he brings anyone of these [aforementioned] scenarios to 
mind. And Allah i<i& knows best. 


Then Shaikh MadanI says after a long article, "This method of visualiza- 
tion of the mentor is a tradition inherited from the pious predecessors 
and which yielded powerful results until people came in the latter era 
who abused it and exceeded its permissible limits. They began adding new 
things which caused major corruption and deviated from the straight path." 
After this, Shaikh MadanI narrates four or five fatwas from Fatawa-e- 
Rashldiyya and some excerpts from the letters of Shaikh Qasim Nanautwl, 
and then writes: 

In brief, the need to eliminate evil thoughts and the whispers of 
Satan and to strengthen the willpower, especially in worship, is 
so important that it need not even be mentioned. Since the ef- 
fects of visualizing the mentor are profoundly advantageous in this 
respect, experience and evidence led the elders of the community 


Visualization of the Mentor 

to put this into practice. The community benefited tremendously 
from this until some pretenders came in the latter age who added 
forbidden things to it. One example of this is the belief that the 
spiritual mentor is omnipresent or the danger of a seeker becom- 
ing so fixated with the image of the spiritual mentor that he be- 
comes unmindful of the ultimate goal and his true Creator. Other 
examples include believing that the mentor is like the house of 
Allah 0i, salat should be prayed towards him, and belief that the 
mentor can change the condition of his heart, aggrandizement of 
the spiritual mentor, or worshipping the spiritual mentor's image 
as is common among many ignorant followers of the pseudo-sufis. 
Therefore, it became incumbent on the elders to study the situation 
and uproot this method of polytheism and disbelief. Anyhow, this 
practice is generally forbidden and unnecessary. When giving fatwa 
or putting it into practice one should first think it over and then 
decide wisely. 


It is narrated in Arwah-e-Thalatha that Sayyid Ahmad Shahld 12 went to 
Shah Abd al-AzIz, who instructed him to begin visualizing his mentor. 
When Sayyid Ahmad Shahld politely refused, Shah Abd al-AzIz recited 
this Persian poem: 

Wet your place of prayer with wine 

if the tavern-keeper so tells you, 
Because the spiritual mentor is not uninformed 

of the different stations of the Path 

[i.e. you may think visualization of the spiritual mentor is polytheism, but 
you should trust the spiritual mentor because he knows better what is ben- 
eficial for you though it may seem otherwise.] 

Sayyid Ahmad Shahld replied, "I will commit sin if you say so, but 
never polytheism." Shah Abd al-AzIz hugged him and said, "That's fine, 
we will take you through the path of prophethood; you are not congruous 
with the path of friendship [wilaya]." 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

I have heard an incident related to the aforementioned poem from my 
elders. Once, a student asked the meaning of this poem. At first Shah 
'Abd al-AzIz said, "Don't worry about such things, just keep to your 
studies." But when he insisted, Shaikh gave him ten rupees and said, "Go 
to a brothel and ask the owner if there is any girl available." At first the 
student was baffled and hesitated, but since he himself had asked he felt 
obliged to go. The owner said, "A beautiful girl has arrived, she is in such 
and such room. I will go and talk to her." He went to her, convinced her, 
and came back to tell the student, "She is willing, but you will have to 
come at night." 

When the student arrived at her room that night, the girl was sitting 
crying, her head hung low. The student was astonished. He insisted he 
had not forced her, but she cried even more. The student didn't know what 
to do. He insisted she tell him why she was crying, but she refused. This 
continued for some time. Finally, she gave in and said, "I am an oppressed 
woman and have been treated unjustly. I have been without food for many 
days now and am wandering here and there. My husband left me and went 
somewhere and I do not know where he is. I have been looking for him for 
many months now." 

He asked the name of her husband and where he was from. She discov- 
ered that the student standing in front of her was her husband. He asked 
her, "Raise your head and look at me." When she looked up they recognized 
each other. One night, the student had quietly slipped out of his house 
because of his desire to seek knowledge. The student stayed there the entire 
night. In the morning, he came to Shaikh and said, "The poem is true." 

[Translator: The mentor is informed of things that seem sinful, as in 
the example of sending him to the brothel, but which turn out beneficial 
to the seeker, as in the example of finding his wife.] 

I have heard other stories similar to this from my elders. The condi- 
tion, however, is that the narrator is truly a spiritual mentor, an authentic 
scholar of Shari'a and Tasawwuf, and is informed of the secrets of the 
Creator. This is not the job of any claimant to piety and greatness. 


Once, Shaikh Gangohl was in a fiery mood when the issue of visual- 
izing the spiritual mentor came up. He asked, "Should I say it?" When 
he was requested to speak, he again asked, "Should I say it?" When he 


Visualization of the Mentor 

was again requested to speak, he said, "For three full years, the image 
of my spiritual mentor, al-Haj Imdad Allah , has been in my heart and 
I have never done anything without asking him first." Then he became 
even more passionate and asked louder, "Should I say it?" "Please do," 
was the request. He said, "For many years the Blessed Prophet Jk has 
been in my heart and I never did anything without consulting him first." 
Having said this he became even more spirited and asked, "Should I say 
it?" "Please do," was the request. But he remained quiet and when people 
insisted, he said, "Forget it." The next day when people insisted, he said, 
"Then ihsan was achieved." 

In the commentary, Shaikh Thanwl says: 

And the reason he repeatedly asked, 'Should I say it?' was probably 
to check people's eagerness, to test them, and see if they truly would 
be able to accept a reality that was otherwise unacceptable. And the 
reason he avoided repeating the question the second time over may 
be because there was no need to. And the first time he asked is be- 
cause the answer is absorbed better in the heart when one is eager to 
know something. And consultation with an image is the power of 
the psyche and it sometimes happens that the soul assimilates itself 
to a corporeal entity. It is evident that the continuity of this thought 
does not justify belief in that the spiritual mentor is ever-present and 
that one is being guided by him in that state. After that, when he said, 
'forget it,' and deferred the matter [of mentioning ihsan] to the next 
day may be because people [who look at these type of spiritual states 
superficially] don't consider the third state of ihsan to be higher than 
the first two. Therefore, people would not understand the impor- 
tance and greatness of one who has reached the level of ihsan. Upon 
insistence, though, his reply clarified that the last state is actually 
higher than the first two. This is because ihsan is an objective and 
a perpetual spiritual state while the first two are non-objectives and 
only transient experiences. In that case, the difference between them 
is great. And if this doesn't explain why he deferred, then it must be 
that he didn't disclose it because [he knew] the public wouldn't be 
able to comprehend it. Perhaps it is one of the manifestations of the 
Creator; something so magnificent that it would only raise objec- 
tions, the way the secrets of the sufis raise objections for people who 
look at the outward only. 


Shari'a & TarIqa 


i Talim al-Dln 

2 Bukharl, Man Tatayyaba 

3 Muslim, Ghazwat al-Uhud 

4 Abu Dawud, md Jd fi Khatam al-Hadid 

5 Musannaf Abd al-Razzdq, nlizc) 

6 al-Bahr al-Madld, under 7/187 | Musnad al-Shihab, kaifa Asbahta yd Mu'ddh 

7 Shamail, mdJdfiLibds 

8 Shamail, md Jdfi Dhikr Khdtam 

9 Shah Muhammud Ismail Shahid (1779-1831) was born in Phulat, India. His passion 
and firm belief in the oneness of Allah J^b [tauhid] was unequalled. Due to his 
passionate love for the oneness of Allah 0i, he was anguished by the rituals and 
superstitions common amongst Muslims. As a powerful speaker, he preached 
against grave-worship, veneration of saints and other such heretical rituals. He 
helped eradicate many of the superstitions Muslims had adopted from Hinduism 
and brought them back to the oneness of Allah 0i. 

10 Shamail, md Jd fi Khuluq 

11 al-Sunan al-Kubra li al-Baihaqi, DukhtilMakka bi ghair Irdda 

12 Sayyid Ahmad Shahid (1786-1831) was born in Delhi, India. He was strict upon 
the Sunna and intolerant of innovations and even anything that was questionable 
as innovation. His aim in life was to eliminate innovations from the Indian 
subcontinent and he spent most of his life doing so. Due to his strict adherence to 
the Shari'a, intolerance of customs, and forceful personality he quickly became a 
polarized figure who was either revered or hated, both by scholars and the public. 
He spent the last years of his life touring the country with his followers establishing 
the Sunna wherever he went. He was martyred in in the battle of Balakote fighting 
against a superior Sikh force that was aided and abetted by Muslim chiefs who saw 
the loss of their power by his call to the Quran and Sunna. 



Chapter Fifteen 

Clairvoyance of the Heart [Kashfal-Sudur] 

AND THE GRAVES [Kashfal-Qubur] 


Clairvoyance regularly occurs amongst the masters of Suluk. These 
clairvoyance's are usually brought on by spiritual exertions while some- 
times it is purely a bestowment of Allah 0i. Clairvoyances are not 
limited to Tasawwuf because any person who exerts himself spiritually 
[Muslim or non-Muslim] can have clairvoyance. This is why clairvoy- 
ance is not taken seriously by the spiritual masters; in fact they disregard 
it completely. Sometimes when seekers begin experiencing clairvoyances 
their mentors may stop them from spiritual exertions. 
It is written in Ap Biti that: 

One of my close friends, Shaikh Abd al-Rahman Gangohi, was also 
one of my father's favorite students in Gangoh. He moved with my 
father when my father moved permanently to Saharanpur [Mazahir 
al-'Ulum], and studied the books of hadith in Mazahir al-'Ulum. 
Finally, he took bai'a with my mentor, Shaikh Saharanpurl. He was 
strict on his daily prescribed devotions. He was an imam of one of 
the masjids in Kasoli near Shimla where he taught children Qur'an. 
As I was the one who mainly wrote my shaikh's letters [and therefore 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

had to read the letters sent to him], I saw that his spiritual condition 
were lofty. In one letter he wrote about some of his clairvoyance's 
and lofty states. After reading this letter, I truly thought that Shaikh 
would give him successorship, but instead he replied, "Stop all the 
meditative devotions and the dhikrs except the obligatory acts and 
emphasized Sunnas." 

Even when clairvoyance came from Allah 0i, my elders considered 
it an obstruction in the path of Tasawwuf. My mentor said, "It is like a 
person walking on a path with lush gardens and rosebushes on both sides. 
If he stops to enjoy the beauties of the garden and continues to do so, he 
will not arrive at his destination [i.e., he will arrive late]." 

This is why my elders generally disliked the clairvoyances. There were 
both types amongst my elders, those who didn't see clairvoyance like my 
mentor and then those who saw them regularly like Shah Abd al-Rahlm. 
I have heard the statement of Shaikh Thanwl many times that, "I have 
no problem sitting with Shaikh al-Hind, Mahmud al-Hasan and Shaikh 
Khalll Ahmad, but I can't sit in the gatherings of Shah Abd al-Rahlm; 
who knows what is disclosed to him." 

I have also heard on various occasions that there were both types 
among the seekers of Shaikh Gangohl. Shaikh Siddlq Ahmad Ambhetwl 
had many clairvoyances though my spiritual mentor had none. Since 
this is something one achieves after exhaustive spiritual exertions, forty 
day retreats and holding of the breath [habs al-nafas], the elders do not 
consider clairvoyance a fundamental of Suluk though it is not contrary 
to the Shari'a either. 


The Blessed Prophet j§& passed by two graves and heard the punishment 
of the grave. One of them was being punished because he was not careful 
about urine and the other because of his calumniation of people. This 
is a famous hadith which has been narrated in all the hadith books. In 
Mishkdt al-Masdbih, under the chapter of 'Certainty of the Punishment of 
the Grave,' Zaid ibn Thabit $± narrates that the Blessed Prophet Jffe went 
to a garden on his donkey. Suddenly, the donkey broke into a gallop and 
the Blessed Prophet j§& lost balance and almost fell off. There were four or 
five graves in that garden where the deceased were suffering punishment 


Clairvoyance of the Heart and the Graves 

of the grave. The Blessed Prophet J§l said, "I fear you will stop burying 
the dead otherwise I would supplicate that Allah 0z allow you to hear the 
punishment of the grave." 1 

In another hadith, it is narrated that the grave closed upon S'ad ibn 
Muadh jjfc. The Blessed Prophet j§& said, "The grave closed upon S'ad 
ibn Muadh J^, then Allah 0* opened it by its blessings [of the tasblh and 
takblr]." 2 In another hadith of Mishkdt al-Masabih, Ibn Abbas jjt nar- 
rates, "Once, some Companions £§s pitched their tents in one place. They 
did not know there was a grave where they had camped. Suddenly, they 
heard somebody recite Surat al-Mulk. When the Blessed Prophet Jp was 
informed he said, 'Surat al-Mulk saves from the punishment of the grave.'" 3 

In Hayat al-Sahaba, there is a long story about a youth who was very 
pious, performed a lot of worship, and spent most of his time in the masjid. 
Once, he prayed his 'Isha and went home. On his way he saw a beautiful 
woman who fell in love with him and who always sat in wait for him on 
the way. Once she seduced him and he went along with her. When they 
reached the door and the woman went inside, he was about to step in when 
he returned to his senses by the blessings of the dhikr of Allah 0* and 
recited this aya: 

Surely, when the God-fearing are touched by any instigation from 
Satan, they become conscious [of Allah 0?\, and at once they discern 
[the reality].^ 

He then fell unconscious. The woman called her slave -girl to help pick 
him up. They dragged him to the door of his house and knocked on the 
door. The old father came out and saw his son unconscious at the door. He 
called his family out and they brought in the youth. Late at night, he re- 
gained consciousness and his father asked him what had happened. The fa- 
ther asked him, "Which aya did you recite?" The youth recited the aya and 
fell unconscious again. When people shook him they found he had died. 
They washed and buried him that very night. When news of this incident 
reached 'Umar ^ he went to the father's house for condolences and asked, 
"Why didn't you inform me?" The father replied, "It was at night, O Amir 
of the Believers." 'Umar £f& ordered, "Take me to his grave." 'Umar $, went 
with his companions to the grave and recited the following aya to the youth, 
"And for the one fearful of having to stand before his Lord, there are two 
gardens." 5 When he finished reciting the aya he heard a voice from the grave 
say twice, "O 'Umar ^, Allah 0i has granted me both of the gardens." 6 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

In another amazing story from Hayat al-Sahaba, once 'Umar ^ 
went to the graveyard of Baqf and said, "Salam to you O People of the 
Graves, listen to our situation. Your women have married again, other 
people are now living in your homes, and all your wealth has been dis- 
tributed." Then he heard a voice from the unseen saying, "Now listen to 
our situation. We have received whatever we prepared for the next world, 
we benefited from all the money we spent in the path of Allah Jg», and 
lost whatever we left behind." 7 

In another incident from Hayat al-Sahaba, 'Abd Allah ibn 'Umar i§^ said: 

Once, I passed by Badr and saw a man rise from a well. He had a 
chain around his neck and called me repeatedly saying, 'O Abd Al- 
lah, give me water to drink.' Then another man rose from the same 
well saying, 'Do not give him any water, he is a disbeliever.' He then 
hit him with a sword and the first man fell back into the well. I 
returned to the Blessed Prophet jfk and told him the whole incident. 
The Blessed Prophet j§s said, 'That was Abu Jahl and he will be pun- 
ished in this manner until the Day of Judgment.' 8 

There are many narrations of this kind of hearing voices from the 
grave. Therefore, those who reject the clairvoyance's and paranormal inci- 
dents [khawariq] are not educated in the knowledge of the ahadlth. 

Hafiz Ibn Qayyim narrated many ahadlth about voices from the grave 
in his book Kitab al-Ruh. In one narration, Abu 'Uthman Nahdl' says: 

Once Ibn Sis went with a funeral procession and was wearing thin 
clothe at the time. He reached a grave, prayed two units, and leaned 
on the grave. He says, 'I swear by Allah 0i, my heart was awake 
that I suddenly heard a voice from the grave saying, 'Get out of here 
and do not hurt me. You living people do things while ignoring the 
consequences of your actions, and we look for reward but cannot do 
anything. The two units you prayed are more valuable to me than 
such and such amount of reward.' 

In another incident, Shaikh Abu Qallb says: 

I was returning from Sham to Basra. I got off at one place, and per- 
formed the ablutions. After praying two units, I put my head on 


Clairvoyance of the Heart and the Graves 

a grave and fell asleep. When I awoke I saw that the deceased in 
this grave [on which I had fallen asleep] was complaining about me 
and saying, 'You kept me in distress the whole night. You people do 
things in the state that you are ignorant of the consequences of your 
actions, and we know the consequences but are unable to do any- 
thing. The two units you prayed are better than the material world 
and everything in it. May Allah 0i give the people of the world the 
best of returns. Please give them our greetings. We receive moun- 
tains of light through their supplications.' 

Ibn Qayyim narrates many incidents all of which cannot be repro- 
duced here. Ibn Qayyim narrates: 

One of my friends left his house at the time of Asr and went to the 
gardens. He narrates, 'I went into the cemetery shortly before sunset. 
The sun descended into the cemetery before it set in the horizon. I 
saw one grave that seemed like a flame of fire around a glass dish. 
The deceased was in the middle of this flame. I rubbed my eyes 
thinking maybe I am seeing this in my sleep. Then I looked afar and 
I saw the walls of the city and realized then that I was not sleeping at 
all. I reached home, numbed by what I saw. My family brought food 
for me, but I could not eat. When I returned to the city I inquired 
about the grave and learned it was the grave of a cruel tax collector. 

In another narration, Abu Quda says: 

We came by a pond near the city of Basra and heard the sound of a 
donkey. I went to the people of the area and asked, 'Whose voice is 
this?' They said, 'This was a man who would say to his mother, 'You 
always bray like a donkey' when his mother asked him to run an 
errand. Since he died, every night you hear the braying of a donkey 
from his grave. 

There are many eye-opening incidents of this kind. 
He narrates another incident that Amr ibn Dinar said: 

There was a man in our city whose sister became sick whom he vis- 
ited every day. Then she died and he buried her. After the burial he 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

remembered he had left something in the grave. He took one of his 
friends with him for help. They dug up the grave and found what he 
had left in the grave. He then told his friend, 'Move out of the way, 
I want to see how my sister is doing.' When he removed one of the 
bricks from the niche [lahad] he saw flames of fire. He returned to 
ask their mother, 'What did my sister do her whole life?' The mother 
replied, 'Why do you ask? She has already left the world.' When he 
insisted she said, 'She was not punctual in her salat and would eaves- 
drop on her neighbors and spread the news to others.' 

Ibn Abu al-Dunya says: 

Someone came and asked Abu Ishaq Fizari, 'Is there any repen- 
tance for a grave-robber?' He replied, 'When there is true repen- 
tance then, yes, there is repentance for him.' The questioner said, 'I 
was a grave-robber and I saw many people whose faces were turned 
away from the qibla.' Abu Ishaq did not know how to reply. He 
wrote to Imam Auzai, who replied, 'These are people who turned 
away from the Sunna.' 

After narrating many such incidents Ibn Qayyim says: 

There are many incidents of this kind which cannot be narrated here 
in which Allah $fc revealed the punishment or the comfort of the 
grave to some of his servants... and the heretics and unbelievers have 
no way to disprove these incidents. 

The aforementioned article was about clairvoyance of the graves. As 
for clairvoyance of the heart, Ibn Qayyim writes in his book Kita al-Ruh: 

Allah 0z praised the people with spiritual discernment [firdsa] in 
this aya of the Qur'an: 

""V s " ^ --" , 

Surely, in that there are signs for those who read signs. 9 


Clairvoyance of the Heart and the Graves 

Ibn 'Abbas jjt and others say 'mutawassimln refers to people with spiritual 
discernment. After quoting various ayas, Ibn Qayyim writes: 

The ability to spiritually discern is only for the person who is pu- 
rified from all impurities and who has established closeness to 
Allah 0i. Such a person can see with a light that Allah $$t puts in his 
heart. The Blessed Prophet j§s said, 'Save yourself from the spiritual 
discernment of the believer for he sees with the light of Allah 0z. ho 
Allah |ga gives him this spiritual discernment because of his close- 
ness to Allah 0* i.e. when the heart is close to Allah ^ga all the evil 
thoughts that block the way from recognizing and realizing the truth 
are lifted; he then gains from the lantern [mishkat] that is close to 
Allah $g&. The light he gains in his heart is relative to his closeness 
to Allah Jgs and he sees through this light such things which people 
who are [spiritually] distant from Allah 0i cannot see. It is narrated 
in a hadith that Allah 0i says: 

A person cannot gain closeness to me in any way better than the obliga- 
tory acts. A person gains closeness to me through the voluntary salat 
until I make him my beloved. And when I love him I become his ears 
by which he hears, his eyes by which he sees, his hands by which he 
holds, and his feet by which he walks. Thus, his hearing, seeing, hold- 
ing, and walking happen by Me. 11 

When a person reaches this stage, the person's heart becomes like 
a gleaming mirror and the reflections of the realities enter into his 
heart. Then nothing of his spiritual discernment is ever wrong be- 
cause when he sees through Allah Jgs he sees only reality. When he 
hears through Allah 0i he only hears reality. This is not the knowl- 
edge of the unseen, but a knowledge that Allah 0i puts in his heart. 
When the heart is filled with light, the bountiful blessings of this 
light are seen on his limbs and the light travels from his heart to his 
eye. Then he sees from the eye according to the amount of light in 
his heart. 

The Blessed Prophet Js saw Bait al-Muqaddas from Makka. 
While digging the trench in the battle of the Trench the buildings 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

of Sham, the ramparts of the city of Sana in Yemen, and the city of 
Mada'in in Persia were shown to him. The Blessed Prophet J§& saw 
all this while sitting in Madina. When Negus died in Abyssinia, the 
Blessed Prophet j§s was informed of it. When Saria ^ was fighting 
in Nahawand, 'Umar Jt saw him and called him from the pulpit in 
Madina. When some people from the tribe of Banu Mazja arrived in 
Madina, 'Umar & looked at Ashtar Nakh'ai up and down carefully 
and asked, 'Who is he?' People said, 'Malik ibn Harith.' He then said, 
'May Allah $fr destroy him. I see Muslims facing hardship because 
of him [he was one of the leaders involved in the assassination of 
'Uthman ibn Affan jjffe].' 

Once, Imam Shafi'i and Imam Muhammad were sitting in 
Masjid al-Nabawi when a man walked in. Imam Muhammad said, 
'I think he is a carpenter.' Imam Shafi'i said, 'I think he is a black- 
smith.' They both asked him and he said, 'I used to be a blacksmith, 
now I am a carpenter.' 

One youth, who lived in the company of Shaikh Junaid Bagh- 
dad!, could tell others the bad thoughts that passed through their 
hearts. Somebody mentioned this to Shaikh Junaid. He asked the 
youth, "What are these things people are saying about you?' He said, 
'It is true. I want you to think of something." Shaikh Junaid said, 'I 
thought of it.' The youth told him what he was thinking, but Shaikh 
Junaid said, "Wrong." This happened three times. On the third try, 
the youth said, "It is strange, you are speaking the truth, but I know 
more about the state of my heart." Shaikh Junaid replied, 'You were 
correct all three times. I just wanted to test you.' 

Abu Sa'id Kharaz said, 'One day I entered the Sacred Precinct. At 
about the same time a beggar entered with two old shawls wrapped 
around him. When I saw him begging I said to myself, 'Such people 
are a burden on the world.' He looked at me and recited the aya, 'Be 
assured that Allah 0* knows what is in you, therefore fear Him.'" When 
I repented in my heart, he recited another aya, 'Allah 0z is He who 
accepts repentance from His slaves? 1 * 

A man who had gazed at a woman came to 'Uthman ibn 
Affan ^ in his gathering. 'Uthman ibn Affan j^, said, "Some peo- 
ple come to me while the effects of fornication can be seen in their 
eyes." The man said, "Is there revelation after the Blessed Prophet j§s 
has left this world?" 'Uthman ibn Affan d|. replied, "No, but there 
is true spiritual discernment and insight. This was the spiritual 


Clairvoyance of the Heart and the Graves 

discernment which Allah 0i puts in the hearts; when a thought 
crosses their heart, Allah Jgs makes it into reality." 

All of the aforementioned is taken from Ibn Qayyim's book, Kitab 
al-Ruh. There are many incidents similar to the one above. In his Fatwas 14 , 
Ibn Taimiyya also confirms the existence of clairvoyances. He says: 

'Umar Jj. would say, 'Come near the mouths of the pious and listen 
closely to what they say because the realities are revealed to them.' 
These realities that 'Umar ^ spoke of are things that Allah 0* re- 
veals in their hearts because it is proven that the friends of Allah 0i 
do have clairvoyances. 

There are two known opinions regarding Imam Abu Hanifa and his 
view on used water. His first opinion was that it was impure and the sec- 
ond that it was pure. The reason for his first opinion was that he could see 
the sins that washed off from ablution. He supplicated to Allah 0z to take 
this clairvoyance from him as he did not wish to see the sins of his fellow 
brethren. His supplication was accepted and this clairvoyance was taken 
from him. After this, he took the second opinion that it was pure. 


Shari'a & TarIqa 


i Muslim, Ard Maq'ad al-Mayyit 

2 Musnad Ahmad, Musnadjabir ibn 'Abd Allah 

3 Tirmidhi, Ma Jdfl Fadl Surat al-Mulk 

4 J: 201 

5 55: 46 

6 Kanz al-'Ummtil, 2/516 

7 Ibid, 15/751 

8 Musannaflbn Abl Shaiba, 7/234 

9 1575 

10 Tirmidhi, min Surat al-Hajar 

11 Bukhari, al-Tawadu 

12 2:235 

13 9:104 

14 Fatawa Ibn Taimiyya, 11/204 



s, t^?"^ x- 

Chapter Sixteen 



Some people when overcome by a spiritual state sometimes utter such 
things that oppose the Qur'an and Sunna. If a person utters anything 
that is against the Din in this state, it is called a shath. Though this 
person is not sinful, it is forbidden to follow him. There are many say- 
ings of the elders that indicate that someone who judges the entranced 
people [ahl al-hdl] from their exoteric state would give a fatwa of heresy 
However, if such things are uttered in a state of intoxication or enrapture 
[shauq] it will not be considered disbelief, though at the same time they 
are not worthy of being followed. 

The Blessed Prophet Jk said, "When a person repents, Allah 0z is 
happier than a man traveling with all of his belongings and provisions on 
his mount. Then this man rides into a jungle where death is certain. He 
lies down under the shade of a tree and falls asleep. When he wakes up he 
sees no sign of his camel. He looks everywhere and is getting hungry and 
thirsty. Then he loses all hope and returns to the same place to die. He 
puts his head in his hands and falls asleep. He wakes up again and sees his 
camel with all his belongings and provisions on it standing nearby. At this 
moment, no one can imagine his joy and he says in elation, "O Allah 0i, 
you are my servant and I am your Lord." 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

The Blessed Prophet j§& says, "He was mistaken because of his exces- 
sive joy." 1 

This hadith is narrated by Abd Allah Ibn Mas'ud ^ and Anas J^ 
in Bukhari and Muslim with different wordings. Shaikh Thanwl says in 

This hadith indicates that a helpless person is forgiven for his mistake 
because the Blessed Prophet Jp quoted this person and did not rebut 
him. The joy which incited such a statement came from a thing of 
this material world. Imagine a person made helpless by his intense 
love for Allah J&; this is one of the spiritual properties [kaifiyyat] 
that evolves from adherence to this Din. 

The hadith about the Mother of the Believers, A'isha tfi, being 
accused of illicit behavior narrates, "When the ayas of the Quran 
were revealed which exonerated her of all wrongdoing, her mother 
said to her, 'Go to the Blessed Prophet j§i and be grateful.' She was 
overcome by emotion and said, 'I swear by Allah Jfe I will not go and 
I will not be grateful to anyone besides Allah ^. He is the one who 
has acquitted me.' 2 

Shaikh Thanwl says, "Sometimes our elders said something in prose or 
verse that outwardly seemed blasphemous. When it is said in an intoxicated 
state it is called shath and aulal. The Mother of the Believers %. statement falls 
under this category. It resulted from her profound grief because the Blessed 
Prophet j§&, himself a human and uninformed of the unseen, was confused 
and doubtful. The Mother of the Believers %. was aware of his feelings about 
her and was grief stricken that he doubted her. When she was exonerated 
by revelation of the ayas she was fervent and said what she said at that mo- 
ment. Since the Blessed Prophet j§& did not chastise her for this reply, it 
proves that those who utter ecstatic phrases are exempt from the general rule. 

The Mother of the Believers %. narrates: 

The Blessed Prophet j§i said, 'I know when you are happy and also 
when you are angry with me.' I asked, 'How do you know Blessed 
Prophet j§s?' He replied, 'When you are happy you say, 'I swear by 
the Creator of Muhammad §£ and when you are angry you say, 'I 
swear by the Creator of Ibrahim *£." I replied, 'You are right, except 
that I only leave out your name [otherwise I love you as much when 
I am angry as I do when I am happy with you].' 3 


Ecstatic Phrases [or Actions] 

These are the stories of true love. People who understand true love re- 
alize that the Blessed Prophet Jl* understood she was overcome by a [spiri- 
tual] state when she swore by the name of Allah 0i and that it was just 
another expression of her love for her beloved. This is why he remained 
silent and did not rebuke her for her remark. 

The story of Khawaja Ahmad Jam, when he said, "We do it, we do it," 
has been narrated in a previous chapter. Khawaja spread his hand over the 
child and restored his vision as he repeated, "We do it, we do it." 

Once, Shaikh Yaqub Nanautwl 4 was sitting in his class, extremely 
sad. Amir Shah Khan and some others came into class precisely at that 
time. Shaikh said, "I have made a big mistake. I said such and such to 
Allah 0z and he replied such and such. Then I said something [which 
was outwardly disrespectful towards Allah 0p\, to which He responded, 
'Quiet! Stop this nonsense.' Then I was quiet and repented to Allah 0* 
and was finally forgiven." 

Shaikh Qasim Nanautwl shuddered when he heard this. He said, "Oh! 
Maulvl Ya'qub said such a thing! I beg for forgiveness from Allah 0z, I beg 
for forgiveness from Allah 0i. I beg for forgiveness from Allah jgjgt. He is 
overwhelmed by a state [majdhub\, only he could say such a thing. Had it 
been us, our throats would be slit." 5 

Shaikh Thanwl writes in the footnote: 

In some levels when one is overwhelmed by a state, utterances are 
categorized as ecstatic sayings and are thus forgiven. There are oth- 
er overwhelmed ones who are temporally [not permanently] over- 
whelmed by their state. 


The stairs leading up to the Jami' Masjid in Delhi have always been 
home to one overwhelmed one or another. There are many famous in- 
cidents of these overwhelmed ones, but it is not known when they first 
settled there. There is a story of Mirza Mazhar Janijana. He would go 
to Jami' Masjid for Jumu'a entering from the southern gate and leaving 
from the eastern. After Jumu'a, an elder would sit there on his prayer 
rug under the northern portico near the entrance of the eastern gate. 
He used to keep a small earthen jug covered with a weathered brick in 
front of him. Whenever Mirza Janijana passed by him, Mirza Janijana 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

would hit his legs, yell at him, pull the prayer rug from underneath him 
and throw it away He would lift the jug and brick and smash both of 
them on the ground, shattering them into pieces and then walk off qui- 
etly People were shocked that someone like Mirza Janijana could be so 
cruel, but no one had the courage to ask why he did it. Finally, someone 
once asked, "Shaikh, who is this person and why do you do this to him?" 
Mirza Sahib replied, "When we were kids he hung around us and tried 
to join our group. We would hit him and taunt him, but now Allah $%» 
has shown us the path of Suluk and we have been given successorship by 
our mentors. One day, I thought, 'I have known him for so long and he is 
close to me, I should put some spiritual attention on him.' When I did, I 
found myself immersed in his own reflection and saw that he was higher 
than me. I became worried. After that, I became respectful to him and 
left my sitting place for him and told him, 'This is your place, not mine. 
Now you sit in my place and I will sit in yours.' But he refused to listen. 
When I insisted, he again refused and said, 'You will continue to treat 
me as you did when we were kids,' but I refused. After that, he took away 
all my spiritual properties and left me hollow. Now I was even more wor- 
ried. I said, 'Give me back my spiritual properties.' He replied, 'On the 
condition that you will treat me as you always have and not here, but in 
public outside the masjid.' I had no choice but to accept his condition." 6 
In the footnote, Shaikh Thanwl writes: 

'Took away all my spiritual properties' — I say that the method of 
this wresting away [of the spiritual properties] as I have heard from 
Shaikh Gangohi is that the faculty to understand and to perform 
good languishes, otherwise, it is not possible to eliminate someone's 
closeness to Allah 0i and their strength of spirituality. I say that this 
inertness can be produced by sickness or even medications. It is not 
harmful in itself except that one does not achieve the same edify- 
ing feelings in worship which leads to disappointment. However, it 
is harmful in the sense that it decreases one's spiritual energies to 
perform worship which leads to a decrease of good deeds. Therefore, 
wherever there is a possibility of a spiritual force [tasarruf] influ- 
encing such changes, it will be forbidden; however, it is permissible 
where the spiritual properties become an obstruction in one's worldly 
or religious functions. Likewise, when it is for a permissible purpose, 
it will be permissible as in this incident. 


Ecstatic Phrases [or Actions] 

I was a member of the Darul al-'Ulum [Deoband] board for many years. 
Shaikh Madanl's attitude towards Hakim Ishaq Kathurwl was harsher 
than this. At first, I was quite perturbed by what I saw, but after a few days 
I understood what was happening. 

One thing leads to another, but I meant to narrate an incident of an 
overwhelmed one who lived on this flight of stairs in Delhi. He was very 
pious and righteous. One day he began loudly ranting, "I am not your 
servant and you are not my lord." People grabbed him and took him to the 
judge who was himself a pious and devout man. He asked the overwhelmed 
one, "What are you saying?" He replied, "Satan has been trying to prevail 
over me and force me to say, 'You are my Creator and I am your servant,' 
but I reject him saying, 'Neither are you my Creator nor am I your servant.' 

The purpose of narrating these incidents is to remind us that we 
should not draw conclusions on the ecstatic phrases until we are sure of 
what they mean. 


i Muslim, fi al-Had 'ala al-Tauba 

2 Bukhari, Ta'dll al-Nisa 

3 Musnad Ahmad, Hadith al-Sayyida 'Aisha 

4 Ya'qub ibn Mamluk ibn Ahmad All (1831/32-1884)- was from the lineage of Abu 
Bakr £>&. Known for his clairvoyances and overwhelming spiritual states, he often 
accurately predicted events before they transpired and was known for the acceptance 
of his du'as. He was a teacher of Maulana Ashraf All Thanwi who often said that no 
one shaped his thinking and personality as much as Shaikh Nanautwi. 

5 Arwah-e-Thalatha [# 249] 

6 Mirza Janijana's ill-treatment of this shaikh was an example of an ecstatic action 


Chapter Seventeen 


At times, intoxication and unconsciousness may induce ecstatic phrases. 
Many of the sayings and states of the masters of Suluk are uttered in the 
state of intoxication. The intoxication is forbidden if it is induced by a for- 
bidden act. However, sometimes intoxication happens when a powerful 
spiritual meaning descends upon the heart while the heart is too weak to 
sustain it [though a weak heart is not the only reason for intoxication]. At 
times, even a strong heart is overcome by the descent of a spiritual meaning 
that is stronger than itself and the force of the descent makes one fall un- 
conscious. Musa 5>g£ was strong of character, but when he asked Allah Jga 
to reveal Himself and Allah 0* manifested Himself in His revelation, 
Musa *§ fell unconscious. Comparatively, the Blessed Prophet's j§& spiri- 
tual forbearance exceeded Musa's jgl because the Blessed Prophet Jl, had 
attained union with Jibra'll £*B [in spiritual attributes when Jibra'll jgl 
squeezed him three times] when he received his first revelation; only 
Allah 0? knows best what gnosis and perpetual states he attained during 
the next thirteen years. Thus, when the Blessed Prophet j§& ascended the 
heavens in the ascension, he left Jibra'll £s£ behind. 

Whatever extraordinary things the Blessed Prophet j§fe experienced 
and saw in the ascension did not bring any change, transformation, or 
disintegration of his blessed body. He returned in the same state in which 
he ascended. 


Intoxication and Unconsciousness 
Shaikh Thanwl writes in al-Takashshuf. 

Unconsciousness can result from forceful blows on the soul as it does 
by blows on the physical body. This is something all the tradition- 
al doctors agree upon. Many different states of the soul can affect 
changes in the mind, and one of these is when intoxication stuns 
the mind bringing on unconsciousness. As an insane or unconscious 
person is excused, likewise a spiritually intoxicated person or one 
overwhelmed by a spiritual state is also excused in his ecstatic phras- 
es, transgressions, and negligence towards obligatory duties. Many 
times, this intoxication is not realized by a person sitting nearby just 
as an insane person's insanity is not noticeable. As a result, people are 
sometimes accusatory and judgmental of a person's conduct or utter- 
ances. When we interpret the actions of people [that excuses them 
from the obligatory act] it is with the understanding that such people 
are otherwise virtuous, of the best character, and strict followers of 
the Sunna. The only time we will not excuse a person is when he is a 
transgressor, a slave of his desires, and leads a life of sin; in this case, 
there is no need to interpret his actions or sayings, and the chances 
of such a person being overwhelmed by spiritual intoxication is little 
unless strong evidence suggests otherwise. 

In al-Takashshuf, Shaikh Thanwl footnoted the hadith which narrates 
the incident of how 'Umar J^ once tried to stop the Blessed Prophet H> 
from leading the funeral prayers of Abd Allah ibn Ubai ibn Sulul [chief of 
the hypocrites] and says: 

Intoxication is the name of an inability to distinguish between rul- 
ings related to the exoteric and esoteric because of the torrents of a 
strong spiritual meaning descending into the heart; sobriety [sahw] 
is the return of this ability. The descent of the spiritual meaning 
of hatred for the sake of Allah Jgs [bughd fi Allah 0i] overpowered 
'Umar J|. and he became overwhelmed by it; he was not conscious 
of his behavior and the words he used with the Blessed Prophet j|> 
appeared as an apparent lack of respect on his part. In this situation, 
the Blessed Prophet j§s did not hold him accountable for his behavior. 
Then when he returned to his normal state of mind, it is narrated 
in the hadith that he said, 'I was appalled by my behavior with the 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

Blessed Prophet j§&.' These types of descents of spiritual meanings 
are common amongst the sufis. If the descent of the meaning is weak 
and the heart is able to withstand it, the effect is unnoticeable, but 
if it is strong and the heart is strained, the effect becomes apparent. 

I remember the incident of Shaikh Fadl al-Rahman Ganj Muradabadl, 
but can't remember where I read it. It is written in Tadhkirat al-Rashid that 
once in his gathering, people were talking about the biographies of the 
elders when the name of Shaikh Gangohl came up. At the time, Shaikh 
Fadl al-Rahman said, "Don't even talk about him, he drank up the whole 
river and didn't even burp." 1 

Ibn Taimiyya writes in his fatwas: 2 

Sometimes people overcome by a certain state are subdued by the 
spiritual property of union [ittihad] or incarnation [hulul]. Some 
forms of union are truth while others are purely falsehood. However, 
since such feelings usually emerge when a person is subdued by a 
certain state, is unconscious, or is repudiating the existence of ev- 
erything around him except his beloved, and his infatuation is with 
nothing forbidden, he will not be accountable for his actions. There 
will be no punishment for him on the Day of Judgment because an 
insane person is exempt from the law. If this person is mistaken in 
what he says then he will fall under the aya, 'O Lord, do not bold us 
accountable, if we forget or make a mistake! 1 and under the aya, 'There 
is no sin on you in the mistake you make.' A 

The example of this is like the story narrated about one person who 
loved someone. When the beloved fell in the river, the lover threw himself 
behind him in the river also. The beloved asked, 'I fell accidentally, but 
what made you fall?' The lover replied, 'In my love for you, I lost sight of 
myself and thought you were me.' 

This state occurs often among the people of love and also among the 
seekers with their mentors. It is a state that is most often born out of love 
for Allah 0i; however, there can be some imperfection in the attainment 
of this union with Allah 0*. In this state, one becomes so absorbed in his 
love for his beloved [i.e., Allah 0z\ that he loses consciousness of his own 
love and even reaching a level of self-annihilation. He cannot distinguish 
remembrance from the one being remembered, observation from the one 


Intoxication and Unconsciousness 

being observed, and presence from the one who is omnipresent. In this 
condition, one loses awareness of one's own existence. In this condition, a 
person may say, I am the Truth' or 'I am Glorified' or other such delirious 
statements. Such a person is intoxicated with love of Allah 0*. Since the 
intoxication was not caused by something forbidden therefore such utter- 
ances born from this spiritual condition should never be publicized. 


1 He absorbed the descent of powerful spiritual meanings [due to his high perpetual 
state] without any change in his consciousness or utterances. 

2 Fatawa Ibn Taimiyya 2/396 

3 2: 286 

4 33:5 


sl> -^ 

Chapter Eighteen 


The exoteric meanings of the utterances of the sufis often conceal their 
true inner meanings. Because of this, some foolish people not learned 
in the esoterica of this science make false objections. In Shamail al- 
Tirmidhi, Anas d^ narrates, 

Once a man came to Blessed Prophet p$ and asked for a mount. The 
Blessed Prophet j§& said, 'I will give you the calf [of a camel].' The 
man said, 'O Blessed Prophet Ja, what am I going to do with a calf? I 
need something to ride on.' The Blessed Prophet j§s explained, 'Every 
camel is a calf of a camel.' 1 

In another hadith in Shamail, Hasan BasrI says, "Once, an old wom- 
an came to the Blessed Prophet §k and said, 'Pray for me that Allah jggt 
blesses me with Paradise.' The Blessed Prophet jS said, 'Old women will 
not enter Paradise.' When she turned away crying, he said, 'Tell her she 
will not enter Paradise as an old woman; Allah 0i will make all women 
young and virginal before He puts them into Paradise." 2 

This meaning is also conveyed in the aya, 'Surely, We have made up 
those females in a special creation, and have made them virgins.' 3 This aya 


Esoteric Utterances of the Sufis 

indicates that the women of Paradise will always remain virgins as they 
will become virginal after every intercourse. 

Abu Huraira -3^ narrates that he once went to the market and said 
to the people, "I see you people here when the inheritance of the Blessed 
Prophet j§& is being distributed in the masjid." People ran to the masjid, but 
came back a short while later. They said, "We didn't see anything being 
distributed. We only saw a group of people reciting the Quran." He said, 
"This is the inheritance of the Blessed Prophet J&." 4 

Shaikh Thanwl writes in al-Takashshuf. 

Most of the speeches and writings of the elders contain some articles 
that are outside the realm of the apparent meaning. This hidden 
meaning only becomes coherent once the intended meaning and 
its explanation are understood. There are various reasons for with- 
holding the real meaning: being overwhelmed by a spiritual state, 
concealment from the public, motivating the addressee because con- 
cealing something provokes one to specify whatever is being con- 
cealed, and the thing which is specified by provocation engenders a 
stronger impression on the heart. 

The narration of Abu Huraira i§^ corroborates this point. Abu 
Huraira ^ at first concealed the true meaning with intention to motivate 
the people by using an irrelevant explicit meaning. Concealing the true 
meaning led people to believe the apparent meaning. This is why they 
returned complaining they did not see anything being distributed. After 
he explained the real meaning, they understood what he actually meant. 
Thus, one should not criticize a spiritual mentor while he is in a state be- 
cause it is truly one's own loss. 

Also, Ubai ibn Ka'b J^ narrates, "One Companion u§t from amongst 
the Helpers lived far from Madina, but he never missed even one salat be- 
hind the Blessed Prophet j§&. We pitied him and I said, 'It would be so good 
if you bought yourself a mount that would save you from the hot stones and 
pebbles, and protect you against the predatory creatures of the earth.' He re- 
plied, 'I wouldn't even want my house to be next to the Blessed Prophet's j§s. 
house.' I was upset at this response. I went to the Blessed Prophet j§s. 
and complained about him. The Blessed Prophet j§& called him. The 
Companion fi§t said the same to the Blessed Prophet J|s and added, 'I hope 
that Allah 0* will reward me for each step I take to the masjid.' The Blessed 
Prophet j§& said to him, 'You will get what you intended from Allah J@s.'" 5 


Sharj'a &TarIqa 
Shaikh Thanwl says: 

The same commentary applies here that applied to the former ha- 
dith. Notice that the words of the Companion ^t were disrespectful 
and upset Ubai ibn Ka'b i§^. We can understand that he may have 
said what he did to hide his true intentions or for other similar rea- 
sons. Since there was nothing to hide from the Blessed Prophet j§&, 
he revealed his true intentions to him and it became clear that the 
outward meaning of what he had said earlier to Ubai ibn Ka'b & 
was not intended. 

In a glorified hadith [hadith al-qudusf\ , Abu Huraira Jj. narrates that 
the Blessed Prophet jfi said: 

On the Day of Judgment, Allah 0i will say to some people, 'I was 
sick, you did not visit Me.' The person will say, 'O my Creator, how 
can I visit you? You are Provider of the Universe.' Allah 0fr will say, 
'Do you not remember so-and-so person became sick and you did not 
visit him? Do you not know that if you had visited you would find 
Me there?'" Then Allah 0i will say, "I asked you for food and drink," 
and the person will respond, 'Oh my Creator, How can I feed You 
and quench Your thirst, You are Provider of the Universe?' Allah Jg» 
will respond, "You would have found Me there if you had fed him 
and quenched his thirst." 223 

This hadith and the previous examples indicate that such statements 
are figurative and cannot be taken literally otherwise our beliefs would 
be corrupted. There are numerous ayas of this kind in the Qur'an. To 
present a few: 

Then an announcer shouted out, "O people of the caravan, you are 
thieves!" 6 

So I wanted to make it defective, as there was a king across them who 
used to usurp every boat by force? 

They [the opponents oflsa *S£] devised a plan, and Allah 0i devised 


Esoteric Utterances of the Sufis 


i Shamail, Inna Hamiluka 'ala Walad 

2 Ibid, al-Jannat la Tadkhuluha 'Ujtiz 

3 56:35-36 

4 Mu jam al-Ausat, 2I114 


Muslim, Fadl Kathrat al-Khuta 


Muslim, Fadl 'Iyadat al-Mand 








Chapter Nineteen 

the mother of all diseases: 


My plan was to address various issues and I had many points in mind, 
but since arriving in Madina, my health has deteriorated. I was bedrid- 
den in India and was hoping that things would get better after arriving 
in Madina, however since arriving in Madina I haven't improved any 
Many times I felt like ending this book, but changed my mind on the 
insistence of my friends. Due to sickness, I could not write anything for 
days on end, and now as my health has declined, I have decided to end 
this topic with two important discussions. 

From the very beginning, it was my intention to complete Shari'a 
and Tariqa with these two topics. One was the topic of arrogance, the 
mother of all diseases. The second was the topic of debasing the friends of 
Allah 0z [auliyd Allah] . I borrowed the term 'the mother of all diseases' 
from my good friend Sufi Iqbal who wrote the book, Arrogance: The Moth- 
er of All Diseases. The first edition sold out soon after publication and now 
the second edition is on the way. I thought I would give him to write on 
this topic but my friends explained that every writer has his own writing 
style, and it would be best that I write on this topic myself. 

Many years ago, I wrote that there are two types of sins, the Sa- 
tanic sins and the bestial sins. In the article, I mentioned that the 


The Mother of all Diseases: Arrogance 

bestial sins are quickly forgiven by the mercy of Allah $&,. The hadith 
is well-known: 

°j\j Ja\ Jjiuj ITcJs iioi\ Ji-i \li <ixli &jLii ( J*\ j^ oU ji 
^>r" oi? i^J oli J^ ^r" oi? t/3 

Whoever dies in my umma without associating with Allah $gg will enter 
Paradise. I [Abu Dharr jjjjj said, 'O Blessed Prophet J&! Even if he forni- 
cates and steals?' He said, 'Even if he fornicates and steals.' 1 

I supported the point about the two types of sins with the Qur'an and 
Sunna. It has always been my habit to show my work to my friends, espe- 
cially Shaikh 'Abd al-Rahman and Qarl Sa'id. On occasion, they mark off 
whole paragraphs and I would argue with them about it, but finally give in 
to them. They would delete anything unworthy of being published. 

I don't remember which manuscript it was, but they argued that it did 
not emphasize the importance of the satanic sins enough and at the same 
time lacked mention of the bestial sins. 

I was unable to include this topic in my other books, but I think the 
topic of arrogance befits this book considering that it is the most danger- 
ous of the spiritual diseases, not in my opinion only, but also as stated in 
the Qur'an and Sunna. But in Tasawwuf, it is considered the most destruc- 
tive. Imam Ghazall dedicates a whole chapter to this subject in his book 
Ihya 'Uliim al-Dln. He writes: 

Allah Jgs warns of the dangers of arrogance in many ayas of Qur'an. 
In one aya, He says, "I shall turn from My ayas those who behave ar- 
rogantly on the earth without a right* In another aya, "Thus, does 
Allah 0i seal the heart of every arrogant, tyrant.* 6 In another aya, "Tru- 
ly, He likes not the proud. n In yet another aya Allah Jg» says, "And your 
Lord said, 'Invoke me, I will respond to your invocation. Verily! Those 
who scorn My worship, they will enter Hell in humiliation.^ 

The evil effects of arrogance are also mentioned repeatedly in 
the Qur'an. In addition, the Blessed Prophet J® said in a hadith, "He 
who has a grain of arrogance in his heart will not enter the Para- 
dise.' In another hadith Abu Huraira $. narrates that the Blessed 
Prophet J& said that Allah 0i says, "Pride is My shawl and Greatness 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

is my izar (lower garment). I will throw in the Hellfire anyone who 
tries to snatch these away from Me and will not fear the consequenc- 
es." In another hadith the Blessed Prophet j§s said, "Allah 0z will 
throw into the Hellfire facedown anyone with a grain of arrogance of 
his heart." 6 In another hadith the Blessed Prophet j§s said, "A person 
exalts himself until he is written amongst the ruthless ones [jabbarin] 
and will suffer the same punishment as them." In another hadith he 
says, "On the Day of Judgment, a neck with two ears by which it 
will hear, two eyes by which it will see and a tongue by which it will 
speak will emerge from the Hellfire. It will say, 'three men are mine: 
every arrogant man, the person who associated with Allah Jiga, and 
the one who made pictures.'" The Blessed Prophet j§s also said, "The 
Hellfire and Paradise had a debate. The Hellfire said, 'The arrogant 
and cruel ones have been chosen for me.' Paradise will say, 'The poor, 
weak, and obscure people are my lot.'" 

The Blessed Prophet j& also said, "When he was on his deathbed, 
Nuh sg£ called both his sons and said, 'I enjoin two things upon you 
and forbid you two things.'" The two forbidden things are associat- 
ing others with Allah $gt and arrogance. Abu Huraira $± narrates 
that the Blessed Prophet j&> said, "The tyrants and arrogant ones 
will be reduced to the size of ants and people will crush them under 
their feet." 

Imam Ghazall quotes many ayas of the Qur'an and ahadlth regarding 
the evils of arrogance. Below, I narrate a few more: 

Abu Bakr $. said, "I do not ever look down upon a Muslim because 
even a small Muslim is great in the sight of Allah 0i." 

Dhahab said, "When Allah 0* created the Garden of Eden, He 
addressed it thus, 'You are forbidden for every arrogant person.'" 

The Blessed Prophet j§s said, "Allah 0i will not look at the per- 
son who drags his lower garment on the ground out of arrogance." 
The Blessed Prophet j§&, "A man was walking arrogantly, his two 
shawls wrapped around him, when Allah 0i pressed him into the 
earth and he will continue to suffer this punishment until the Day 
of Judgment." 

Mitraf ibn Abd Allah saw Muhallab walking arrogantly in a silk 
cloth. Mitraf said, "O servant of Allah 0i ! This walk of yours is dis- 
liked by Allah 0t and His Blessed Prophet §^T Muhallab said, "Do 


The Mother of all Diseases: Arrogance 

you even know who I am?" Mitraf replied, "Yes, I knowyou very well. 
Your beginning was a drop of semen and your end is a decomposed 
body and between these two stages you carry filth in your stomach." 
Muhallab left his haughtiness and walked off. 

'Umar ^ said, "When a person is humble, Allah 0i raises his 
status and says to him, 'be elevated', and when a person is arrogant 
He disgraces him and says, 'You are vile.' Then such a person reaches 
such a level that though he thinks highly of himself, he is most con- 
temptible to the people and they think worse of him than swine." 

Malik ibn Dinar says, "If somebody ever came to the entrance of 
a masjid and announced, 'I want the worst of you to leave the masjid' 
I swear by Allah J& you will not find anyone leaving the masjid faster 
than myself." 

When Abd Allah ibn Mubarak heard this statement of Malik 
ibn Dinar he said, "This is what made Malik a malik (king)." 7 

My friend, Sufi Iqbal in his book, Akabir ka Suluk, narrates that Shai- 
kh Rashld Ahmad Gangohi said, 

In the past, the elders put their students through difficult exercises in 
order to eliminate their spiritual diseases. However, the later scholars, 
especially the elders of our line [Chishtiyya], prefer that one perform 
so much dhikr that the spiritual diseases [of the heart] are eliminated 
and the effects of the dhikr permeates into every aspect of one's life. 
There are many spiritual diseases but most have boiled it down 
to ten, the root cause of all ten being arrogance. If this one disease is 
eliminated, the rest will leave on their own. 

One man stayed with Junaid Bahgdadi for 20 years. One day he 
said, "I have been with you for so many years but I feel like I have 
gained nothing from you." This man was the chief of his tribe. Ju- 
naid Baghdad! realized that he had arrogance in his heart. He said, 
"Listen, do one thing. Take a basket of walnuts and sit outside the 
door of the sanctum and announce, 'I will give one walnut for the 
person who hits me once on the head with his shoe and two walnuts 
if he hits me twice' and so on and so forth. Do this until the until 
the basket is empty and then come to me." The man exclaimed, "La 
ilaha illallah Muhammud rasulullahl Hadrat, I can't do that." Junaid 
Baghdad! replied, "This kalima is most blessed. If one reads it with 
conviction after living his whole life in disbelief, he will become a 


Shari'a & Tariqa 

true believer. But saying this, you have rejected the path of Tariqa. 
Get out of here. You will not gain anything from me." 

After this incident, Junaid Baghdad! narrated the incident of a 
man who spent many years with his mentor and complained about 
the condition of his heart that he did not see any improvement in 
himself. The mentor asked, "What do you mean by improvement?" 
The man said, "I will pass on the blessings I gain from you." The 
shaikh said, "This is your problem; you want to become a shaikh. 
Get rid of this evil intention from your heart and know that we are 
obligated to be grateful to Allah gggi for all His blessings. The people 
who perform dhikr and devotions to profit from them in this way [i.e. 
to become a shaikh] are foolish. Their intention is corrupted. How is 
such a person going to benefit and gain a reward? His very existence 
and then the eyes, nose, ears, tongue, and the five senses, and all that 
Allah 0i has given us; we must fulfill our obligation to Him before 
we think about other rewards and benefits." 


Since the path of Tariqa is the path of success and salvation, Satan aims 
to thwart the efforts and advancement of anyone on this path. He does 
not stop the student on this path when he performs a lot of worship, fears 
Allah 0z and avoids major sins, but instead cultivates the seed of arrogance 
in his heart and puts to waste his piety and good deeds. In Ikmal al-Shiyam, 
it is written, 

Whoever claims to be humble is actually arrogant because one can 
only claim humility when he has observed the loftiness of his rank. 
Thus, when he claims to be humble it is as if he has observed his 
greatness, therefore he is arrogant. 


In summary, the reality of humility is that one feels himself so wretched 
that the level of his rank never even crosses his mind. He considers himself 
vile from head to toe. If a person truly feels this way about himself, he will 


The Mother of all Diseases: Arrogance 

never make any claims, neither that of humility or any other righteous 
quality because such a claim indicates he recognizes his high status. 

In reality, humility is not performing a humble act and thinking one- 
self humble. True humility is that when an humble act is done, the person 
thinks it above himself to perform such a deed. Most people think that any 
act of piety or humility proves one is humble. For example, if a rich man 
helps someone who is poor people will say, "What a humble man" though 
he is extremely arrogant. This is why the author [of Ikmal al-Shiyam] 
explains that the way to differentiate humility from non-humility is not 
by looking for a humble act, especially when one thinks it below himself 
to do such a thing. For example, if someone leaves his chair to sit on a 
rug, and thinks it below himself to sit on a rug due to his self-importance 
and thinks that he should be on the chair, then this person is actually ar- 
rogant. A truly humble person is that he sits on the rug but does not even 
think himself worthy of sitting on a rug; in fact, he thinks he should be on 
the bare floor. Another example: he gives money to a poor man and feels 
honored that the poor man accepted his gift when it was unworthy of ac- 
ceptance. This is a sign of true humility. 

Though I wished to write more and the discussion is long, I was 
forced to cut it short due to my sickness. The disease of arrogance is 
dangerous in Shari'a but is even more dangerous in Tarlqa. I saw that 
it was the habit of the elders that if the idea of successorship crossed a 
student's mind, they would not give him successorship though he had 
attained the nisba of Allah 0z. They also warned the student, who after 
receiving successorship, showed signs of arrogance. If such a student 
rectified his condition then well and good otherwise they annulled his 
successorship. I saw many people who were successors of the greatest of 
our elders and who performed a lot of dhikr and devotions, fall because 
of arrogance. In fact, one must be more cautious after gaining succes- 
sorship of becoming arrogant. Even if such a successor's successorship is 
not annulled few of his students ever attain the nisba of Allah Jg« and 
his line does not endure. May Allah by His beneficence and Mercy save 
my friends and myself from this dangerous spiritual disease. It is indeed 
a serious matter. 

Though arrogance is deadly it is not the only disease of the heart that 
is dangerous. All spiritual diseases are dangerous and one must be vigilant 
of falling victim to anyone of them. For example, vanity ['ujh] must be 
avoided since it is no less dangerous than arrogance. The Sahaba g^. suf- 
fered in the battle of Hunain due to vanity though the Blessed Prophet j§* 
himself participated in this battle and stood in the front lines. 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

The incident of the battle of Hunain is mentioned in the beginning of 
Surat al-Tauba and is summarized in Bayan al-Qur'an. Allah 0i says, 

Truly Allah 0i has given you victory on many battlefields and on the 
Day of Hunain when you rejoiced at your great number but it availed 
you not and the earth, vast as it is, was straitened for you, then you 
turned back in flight. Then Allah Jg« sent down his sakina (tranquil- 
ity) on the believers and sent down forces which you saw not, and 
punished the disbelievers. Such is the recompense of disbelievers. 8 

In the war against the apostates, Khalid ibn Walld Ji said, "People 
face tribulations due to their utterances." The first battle against the apos- 
tates was against the false prophet, Tulaiha Asadl. Many of Tulaiha's men 
were killed but most ran away, including Tulaiha himself. This boosted 
the confidence of the Muslims. After that, the Muslims came against the 
false prophet, Musailima and found him to be fierce and relentless. The 
number of Muslims martyred was the same as apostates that were killed 
in the battle of Muta. Khalid ibn Walld i§^ was the general of the Muslim 
army. He says, 

When we finished off with Tulaiha and found him weakly and a 
coward the words, "Who is Banu Hanifa [the tribe of Musailima]? 
They are no better than the fools we just dealt with" came out of my 
tongue, and hardship strikes us through our own words. When we 
came against them we found none like them. They fought us con- 
tinuously from sunrise to Asr. 

Khalid (ft admits that his statement exacerbated the situation. Like- 
wise, whenever the righteous caliphs congratulated an army on their vic- 
tory, they advised them to be careful of vanity. Many incidents of this kind 
are mentioned in al-I'tidal. 

On the other hand, Allah 0* loves humility which was the out- 
standing trait of all the prophets and the friends of Allah Jga. When the 
embodiment of humility, the Blessed Prophet Jk, entered Makka on the 
day of the conquest of Makka, he bowed his head so low it touched his 
saddle. It was due to this humility that the worst enemies of the Blessed 
Prophet J& became his devout followers. They realized that the Blessed 
Prophet jS was a mercy and symbol of love of Allah 0z. He does not 


The Mother of all Diseases: Arrogance 

fight for territory or power but came only to give us the blessing of Iman 
and Islam. 

Shaikh Husain MadanI writes in Asiran-e-Malta, 

Shaikh al-Hind Mahmud al-Hasan loved the company of the poor 
common folk. He wished to make his habits, his clothes, his lifestyle 
like that of the poor people and was afraid of the worldly, rich and 
pompous people. He stayed in the company of the students of the 
school 9 and preferred sitting in the third-class section of the train 
though he was also particular about cleanliness. He always kept 
some camphor with him while travelling since the odors and dirty 
clothing of the common folk upset him. He loved the smell of per- 
fume oils, especially rose. He also loved simplicity and keeping com- 
pany with simple people and despised formalities and superficiality. 
He always quoted Shaikh Qasim Nanautwl who said, "The public 
bathrooms are also a blessing. And though the bathrooms of the rich 
are fragrant and clean, they are an in actual fact, an abomination." 


The self is obsessed with its greatness. Its desire to see itself the center of all 
creation is precisely the cause of all evils and the reason behind the down- 
fall of one's worldly life and Hereafter. For this reason, the elders crush the 
urge of the self which looks for praise and strives for self-importance, and 
are eager to find ways and conditions in which the wanting of their self is 
suppressed and humiliated, especially in public. 

The putrid smell of the physical things is nothing compared to the 
foul odors of the spiritual impurities. Attending to the call of nature in- 
creases the self-importance of the rich [because of the comforts, fragrant 
smell, and layout of their bathrooms] while increasing the humility and 
contempt for the self amongst the common people. It reminds one of his 
own reality. When this is the state of our inner, one can analogize it with 
everything else such as our properties, our conduct with others, and our 
possessions etc. 

The jurists write that it is more virtuous to perform ablution from a 
shallow reservoir [that is made inside many of the masajid for performing 
ablution] because it opposes the Mu'tazilites 10 ; though it is not written any- 
where that the Mu'tazilites ever opposed ablution from a shallow reservoir. 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

As far as I can understand, ablution from a shallow reservoir grates the 
self because one is going to rinse his mouth from the same place where 
another previously washed his feet. This is why people who possess the self 
that inclines towards evil [al-nafs al-ammara\ and worldly people find it 
loathsome to perform ablution from a public reservoir. This is probably the 
reason behind the virtue of performing ablution from a shallow reservoir. 

The reality is that both Shaikh Qasim Nanautwl and Shaikh al-Hind 
always looked for ways to spite themselves, to suppress their self, and es- 
tablish humility in themselves. They abhorred places where arrogance, 
vanity, fame, greatness, and self-importance were fostered and were they 
could easily fall victim to the self. They didn't just talk self-deprecatingly 
of themselves as we do. We say [in Urdu] kamtarlne khala'iq (the worst of 
creation), sagge dunya (a dog of the world), dharre bi miqdar (a worthless 
granule), nabkar (useless), nangi khala'iq (the lowest class of creation) and 
ascribe other such epithets to ourselves. But this is all sanctimoniousness 
because the meanings of these epithets bare no relation to the condition 
of our hearts. In fact, we think quite the opposite of ourselves, our state 
is hamm chuman dlgre naist (we are everything, nothing but us exists). 
Because of this we observe others faults and criticize and backbite them. 
If we ever hear praise of our contemporaries, a fire begins to burn in our 
hearts and we begin to find faults in them and relegate them in front of 
others. We are enraged if anyone ever calls us illiterate, useless, an ass, a 
dog, or even a pig. If we were true to the epithets we ascribe to ourselves 
like kamtarlne khala'iq (the worst of creation) then why are we so offended 
when someone insults us and calls us a dog or a pig? After all, they too are 
creation aren't they? 

Many times I faced difficulties not for something I said, but due to 
arrogant and vain thoughts that crossed my mind. 

In 1382/19 61 the student uprising in Mazahir al-'Ulum [one of the schools 
established by the elders of Deoband in Saharanpur, India] completely 
crushed my desire to teach and I never taught after that. The inciters of the 
uprising employed every possible method to close down the school: lying, 
false oaths, and deception. I truly believe the axiom that 'whatever tribula- 
tion befalls you is the fruit of your own misdeeds'. 11 Our own evils are the 
root cause of all the tribulations we face in this world though the apparent 


The Mother of all Diseases: Arrogance 

causes may seem otherwise as Khalid ibn Walld ^ said, 'hardship comes 
by what we say'. Here are some of the realities behind the uprising that 
became clear to me much later: 

1 Approximately one week before the uprising, the topic of 
protests and uprisings came up in one of the classes and the 
teacher said, "There can never be an uprising in Mazahir." 

2 The seed of the uprising was first sowed in one of the campus 
buildings. A nonbeliever instigated one of the students and 
said, "If you students unify the teachers and school can do 
nothing to you." This same student gathered all the students 
once the gate of the campus building had been closed and 
delivered a fiery speech. When I found out about this in the 
morning, I called on the supervisor and told him the serious- 
ness of the matter but he downplayed it saying, "Don't worry, 
he can't do anything. I will go and straighten him up right 
now." I again explained the seriousness of the situation but he 
was headstrong and took the matter lightly. 

3 When the uprising gathered force and made its way into the 
main buildings of the school, we [the board members] held an 
emergency meeting and I proclaimed, "Not one student from 
the final year [who were taught the books of hadith by Shaikh 
al-Hadlth Muhammud Zakariyya] is involved in the upris- 
ing." The assistant principal, Shaikh Abd al-Majid quietly 
uttered, "Hadrat, there are also students from the final year." 
This fool [Shaikh Zakariyya is referring to himself] repeated 
the same thing but more forcefully that, "It is not possible for 
any of the final year students to be involved in this uprising." 
We later learned that almost all the final year students were 
involved in the uprising. Even more shocking was the fact 
that one of my closest students who was also the personal 
helper of the principal of the school and whom we confided 
with on this matter, also played a major role in the uprising. 

The reason I was so adamant that the final year students could 
not be involved in the uprising was that I always stressed upon 
them the loftines of their position, that they were representa- 
tives of the Blessed Prophet ^ and that they would one day 
be leaders of the Muslims. In Bukharl class, I drove home this 
point in each class from the beginning of the year and naively 


Shari'a &TarIqa 

thought that they had absorbed the message. But when I saw 
that just about every student from the final year was involved, 
the following poem came to my lips: 

Why doesn't the one deprived of the fulfillment of his desire 

Look into the sleeping skies 

That he sees himself failing at every step 

Even now, whenever the scenes of the uprising play out before 
my eyes, I see it a result of my own failing. If I had any sincer- 
ity, I would have had some effect on my students. Before the 
uprising, when any riot or protest broke out in a school and 
the students told us of the abuses against them we would em- 
pathize with the students. However, after the riots in Mazahir, 
my sympathies are always with the administration and teach- 
ers. The uprising of Mazahir left a ugly scar in my heart. May 
Allah 0i protect me from this arrogance, the mother of all 
diseases which can bring down the best of people. 


I have seen many of the great mentors of the past fall due to arrogance 
and the story of Abu Abd Allah Andalusi is so deeply embedded in my 
mind it usually finds its way into my writings. I wish that the students 
of this path and those interested in Tasawwuf also make it a reminder 
for themselves and take heed from it. Shaikh Abu 'Abd Allah Andalusi 
was one of the elders of the elders of Tasawwuf. Many sanctums and 
schools ran under him and he had thousands of students in Tasawwuf 
and Shari'a. This incident took place two-hundred years after the demise 
of the Blessed Prophet j§s. and the effects of the golden era still could be 
observed. It is said that he had twelve-thousand students. Once, he went 
on a journey accompanied by great shaikhs the like of Junaid Baghdadl 
and Shibli. Shibli says: 

Our caravan was moving peacefully with the blessings of Allah 0z. 
Then we came to pass by a Christian village. Little time was left for 
salat and we could not find any water in the village. A small well lay 
in the outskirts of the village where some girls had gathered to fill 
their buckets with water. The minute the shaikh saw of one of the 


The Mother of all Diseases: Arrogance 

girls his condition changed. He bowed his head and stopped eating, 
drinking, and talking to anyone for three whole days. 

We became worried and concerned for his welfare. On the third 
day, I gathered the courage and asked, "O shaikh, thousands of your 
students are worried about your condition." The shaikh turned to- 
ward everyone and addressed them thus: "My friends, how long am 
I going to hide my condition from you. I saw one of the girls and 
fell in love with her. My love for her has permeated every limb of 
my body. Now I can never leave here." I replied, "O shaikh, you are 
the shaikh of Iraq and are renowned for your austerity, your piety 
and your wealth of knowledge. The number of your students ex- 
ceeds twelve-thousand. By the Qur'an, I beg that you not disgrace 
us and everyone here." The shaikh responded, "My friend, your fate 
and mine is predestined by Allah Jgjs. Allah 0& has taken away His 
guidance from me and removed the gift of my closeness with Him." 
Saying this he began to cry and then said, "O my people, my destiny 
is being fulfilled, nothing is in my control." 

We were struck by his words and we cried in anguish. The 
shaikh began to cry with us and soon the dirt became wet with the 
flood of our tears. After this, we had no choice but to return to 
Baghdad. The shaikh's students in Baghdad were devastated upon 
hearing about their shaikh and some died of grief and shock. Most 
of them began entreating Allah 0z, "O Changer of hearts, guide 
the shaikh and return him to his post." After this, all the sanctums 
were shut down and a year went by in anguish and pain without our 
shaikh. Then, we decided to make a trip to that village and find out 
about his condition and to see how he was doing. As we reached the 
village, we asked about the whereabouts of our shaikh. They told 
us, "He is tending to the pigs in the jungle." We were agonized. "O 
Allah |ga, what is happening to our shaikh?" The village people ex- 
plained, "The shaikh was engaged to the daughter of our chief. Her 
father accepted the engagement under this condition [i.e. he would 
tend to the pigs]." We were grief-stricken and could have drowned 
in our sorrow and grief. Tears flowed from our eyes and we could 
barely control our emotions as we find our way to the jungle where 
the shaikh was tending the pigs. Then we saw our shaikh. He was 
wearing a Christian cap and a girdle around his waist. He was lean- 
ing on the stick which he leaned on in his sermons and talks, and was 
keeping an eye on the pigs. The scene was like salt on our wounds. 
When he saw us walking toward him he put his head down. When 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

we came close enough for him to hear, we said, "Al-salamu 'alaikum." 
Hesoflty replied, "wa 'alaikum al-salam." I said, "Shaikh, look at you 
after all that knowledge, the great position you held and the hadith 
and Qur'an." The shaikh replied, "O my brothers, I am not in my 
control, my Creator did as He wished with me and after bringing me 
so close, He threw me away from His door. How can anyone avoid 
what is destined for him? O my friends, fear the wrath of Allah 0i, 
don't ever become arrogant over your knowledge and status." Then 
he looked towards the sky and said, "O my Maula (Creator), I did not 
think You would throw me from Your door." Saying this, he began 
to cry and sought guidance from Allah 0z and said, "O Shibli, learn 
from others!" I cried and supplicated, "O our Sustainer, we ask none 
but You for help and we put our trust in You. Please remove this trial 
from us as none but You has the power to do so." 

The pigs began squealing upon hearing our cries and entreating 
with Allah 0i. The shaikh also wept and cried. I said, "Shaikh, you 
were a hafiz (memorizer) of Qur'an and recited Qur'an in the seven 
recitations. Do you remember anything now?" He replied, "I remem- 
ber nothing but two ayas, 

S f s // 

And whomsoever Allah $&. disgraces, none can honor Him. Verily! 
Allah 0& does what He wills. m 

And He who changes faith for disbelief Verily, He has gone astray 
from the Right way. '* 3 

I asked, "O shaikh, you knew thirty-thousand ahadith with the chains 
of transmission and could recall them instantly. Do you still remember 
any of those ahadith?" He replied, "I only remember one hadith, 

ft' ' <■ 

»yZs\2*m J Jo y 
Whoever changes his faith, execute him." 14 


The Mother of all Diseases: Arrogance 

After this, we decided to return to Baghdad. We had only traveled 
a short distance when we suddenly saw the shaikh on the third day 
emerging from the bank of a river after taking a bath. He was loudly 
saying the kalima, 

, > ^ / S \ ' S ' s 

Only he would understand our joy at that moment who saw and 
felt our pain and anguish before this. Afterwards, we asked the 
shaikh, "Was there any reason behind all this?" The shaikh replied, 
"Yes, when we stopped by the village we passed by many temples and 
churches. When I saw the fire-worshippers and Christians associat- 
ing others with Allah $$/, I became arrogant and thought, "We are 
true believers and believers in the one Creator. Look at these ignorant 
and foolish people worshipping inanimate beings." Immediately, I 
heard a voice from the unseen saying, "Your faith and belief in the 
oneness of Allah ,0i is not through your efforts, but by Our will. Do 
you think your iman is in your hands that you look down upon oth- 
ers? If you wish We will prove it to you right now [that iman is by My 
will]. At that moment, I felt as if a bird flew from my heart which in 
reality was my iman." 

In this story, the main point of narrating this whole incident was the 
last part about how arrogance became the cause of the shaikh's misery and 
loss of Iman. This incident has also been narrated inAp Blti and in Akabir 
ka Suluk by Sufi Iqbal. Hakim Ilyas has also written a book based on this 
incident by the name, Shaikh Andalusi ka Aik Ajib aur Gharib 'Ibratnak 
Waqi'a. This arrogance is so dangerous that it even brought down one of 
the elder of the elders. May Allah 0z by His grace and mercy save us from 
this deadly disease. Amin. 


Shari'a & TarIqa 


i Bukhari, Man Ajaba bi Labbaika wa Sa'daika 

2 7:146 

3 40:35 

4 16:23 

5 40: 60 

6 Kanz al-'Ummal, 3/534 

7 Ihyd 'Uliim al-Din 

8 9:25-26 

9 In the following pages, school refers to the traditional Islamic schools or madrasas 

10 Also known as the Rationalists, they first introduced the methods and style of 
Hellenistic philosophy into Islam. It is said to have started with Wasil ibn Ata [699- 
749] who disagreed with Hasan al-Basri [642-728] over the issue of whether a grave 
sinner could be classified as a disbeliever or not and withdrew from his gatherings 
and established his own. The teachings of the Mu'tazilites were characterized by the 
concept that rationale determined good and bad while revelation was only a means 
to substantiate it. 

11 4:79 

12 22:18 

13 2:108 

14 Abu Dawud, al-Hukm fi Man Irtadda 


' \* wa3c'| 



Chapter Twenty 

This last chapter which is about debasing the Predecessors is the most 
important of all the previous chapters. The Predecessors includes all the 
scholars, the hadith masters, the jurists, and the Sufiya. Allah says: 

^4«<af the first to embrace Islam of the Emigrants and the Helpers and 
also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah 0i is well- 
pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has pre- 
pared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to Dwell 
therein forever. That is the Supreme success. 1 

Many ahadith from al-Durr al-Manthur help explain this aya. One 
such hadith is by Imam Auza'I. He says, 

Yahya ibn Kathir, Qasim, Makhul, 'Abda ibn Abi Lababa, and 
Hasan ibn Abi Atiyya narrate that they heard from a large group 
of Sahaba j^t that, "When this aya was revealed the Blessed 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

Prophet j§& said, "This is for my community and after Allah's Jg« 
pleasure there is no wrath." 

And the Sufiya who have attained ihsan are also included in this aya 
amongst 'those who followed them exactly (in Faith)' and are thus also 
amongst those who have achieved the pleasure of Allah 0z. This point 
has been explained extensively in al-I'tidal. Regarding the matter of de- 
basing the predecessors, I will only say this much that those who dedicate 
their time and efforts to finding faults of the scholars and enjoy doing so, 
hurt no one more than themselves. And if they could hurt the scholars 
they criticize, the most they can do is deprive them of worldly gains or of 
dignity and respect, all of which are transient and insignificant. And this 
of course is only if they have the power to change whatever is written in 
their [the scholars'] destiny. In essence, their prejudices and criticism of the 
scholars backfire on them and does no harm to the scholars. 

The Blessed Prophet Jp said, "He who has no respect for our elders, is 
not kind to our children, and does not hold our scholars in esteem is not 
from amongst us." 2 

Imagine that a person claims he is from the community of the Blessed 
Prophet j§& but the Blessed Prophet J§s wants nothing to do with him. 
In another hadith the Blessed Prophet jffe said, "Those who carry the 
revelations are the friends of Allah 0z." In another hadith, the Blessed 
Prophet jffe said, "The holders of the Qur'an are the friends of Allah ^&. 
Whosoever makes them their enemy makes Allah ^0 his enemy and who- 
ever makes them his friend makes Allah 0? his friend." 3 

In a glorified hadith [al-hadith al-qudust] of Bukhdrl, Allah j$gz says, 
"I declare war upon the one who troubles my friend." 4 Khatlb Baghdadl 
narrates from Imam Abu Hanlfa and Imam Shafi'I that, "If the jurists 
and scholars are not the friends of Allah 0fr then nobody is a friend of 
Allah 0z." Abd Allah ibn Abbas jjjjt says, "Anyone who hurts a jurist hurts 
the Blessed Prophet $|L" 

Hafiz Abu al-Qasim Ibn Asakar advises, 

O my brother, listen closely! May He grant you and I the ways to 
achieve His pleasure, and may He include us amongst the people 
who fear Him as is His right to be feared. I have heard that back- 
biting of the scholars is extremely poisonous, and we know how 
Allah JS& exposes the weaknesses and faults of one who ridicules 
them. It is the way of Allah 0z that He exposes the faults of those 


Debasing the Friends of Allah 4$$ 

who ridicule the scholars and corrupts the hearts of those who loosen 
their tongue against them. 

Shaikh 'Abd al-Hayy writes in his Fatdtvd, 

The jurists mention that one who swears at the friend of Allah 0i or 
scholars of Din due to his contempt for knowledge is a disbeliever. 
If it was for another reason he will be a grave sinner at the very least 
and will be deserving of the wrath of Allah Jg* in this world and in 
the Hereafter. 

He further corroborates this with the statements of the jurists, ayas of 
the Quran, and the ahadith. 

In brief, those who debase the friends of Allah 0* harm themselves 
more than anyone else. This is something clearly proven in the ahadith 
and the decrees of the jurists. Those who can take out time are encouraged 
to read al-I'tiddl in this matter. 


One of the helpers of Shaikh Rashld Ahmad Gangohl often had clairvoy- 
ance of the graves. He sat in the cemetery [by my father's 5 grave] and then 
came for condolences and gave me three messages from my father. 

First he said, "I am not in debt so do not worry." I was very concerned 
about my father's debt of 8000 rupees. The second day after he died, I 
consulted with my uncle Shaikh Ilyas and then decided to send a postcard 
to each of my father's creditors stating that my father had passed away and 
that I take responsibility for whatever he owed you. 

At the time, my shaikh, Shaikh Saharanpurl, was in Hijaz. He did not 
like what I wrote to the creditors. He said it would have been better if I had 
written, "My father has left an inheritance of books [Shaikh Zakariyya's 
father owned a bookstore]. You may take whatever he owed you in books." 

The second message he sent was, "Do not worry about so and so per- 
son. His criticism did not harm me but in fact was detrimental for him." 
My father was referring to a person [who was a teacher in Mazahir al- 
'Ulum where Shaikh Zakariyya's father and later where Shaikh Zakari- 
yya himself taught] who hated my father and always looked for ways to 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

denigrate him. I was worried that he would continue in this manner but 
then I myself saw the consequences of his enmity for my father. He was 
deposed from his position and Shaikh Saharanpurl eventually expelled 
him from the school. 

The third message was, "Be fearful of the friends of Allah 0* for their 
crooked is also straight." Being young and a student I could not under- 
stand how something crooked could be anything but crooked, regardless 
of whether it came from a friend of Allah 0* or a worldly person. 

Ten years later, in 1335/1917, I was doing research for the book Bazl 
al-Majhud while in Madina. My Shaikh sometimes received petty com- 
plaints from people whom I knew very well [that they were lying] about 
the principal of the school [about matters relating to the school]. At that 
time, I handled my shaikh's letters and responded to his letters for him. 

My Shaikh never gave much attention to the complaints, but as I was 
responding to his letters on his behalf, I would respond harshly. But in 
1335/1917, I was returning from Hijaz with Shaikh Abd al-Qadir. Shaikh 
Saharanpurl gave him a letter for the principal which stated, "You are 
mistreating so and so person. Take special care of him and treat him nic- 
er." Shaikh Abd al-Qadir gave this letter in my presence to the principal 
who retorted, "He writes lies, not complaints. "Suddenly, Shaikh Abd al- 
Qadir became full of anger. It was then that I recalled the message from 
my father ['be fearful of the pious for their crooked is also straight']. I 
remember how I had difficulty understanding what that meant. Now as 
I looked upon Shaikh Abd al-Qadir, the reality of the statement dawned 
on me that it was true that the man lied and wrote false complaints. 
Shaikh Abd al-Qadir replied, "You are right. Wrong is wrong, but re- 
member that if the friends of Allah 0* ever feel anything against you, 
though it may be due to an erroneous complaint, it will bring harm to 
you in one way or another." 

After this incident, I saw many times how hurting the friends of 
Allah 0z can put one into hardship. I became fearful after this and re- 
minded my friends, "Do not be proud of being on the righteous and avoid 
hurting the friends of Allah ,0-. Always keep your record straight with 
them as much as possible." 


Debasing the Friends of Allah jijfe 


Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taimiya wrote that in the hadith of Bukhari 
Allah Jig» says, "I declare war on one who makes My friend his enemy" He 
[Ibn Taimiya] writes, 

This is the most authentic hadith about the friends of Allah Jg*. The 
Blessed Prophet j§i said, "Whoever makes an enemy of the friend 
of Allah 0i has placed himself in the battlefield against Allah 0i." 
In a glorified hadith, Allah Jiga says, "Whoever ridicules my friend, 
challenges Me to war. In anger for My friend, I become like a furi- 
ous lion." This is because the friends believe in Allah Jgja and be- 
friend Him. They only love whom Allah 0* loves and despise who 
Allah 0* despises, and are angry with whom Allah 0, is angry. Also, 
they order what Allah 0» orders and prohibit what He prohibits. 

Shaikh Rashid Ahmad Gangohl said, "The faces of those who debase 
the scholars are turned away from the qibla in their graves. Whoever is 
doubtful may go and see for himself." 

This same topic has been discussed in al-I'tidal wherein it says that the 
glorified hadith, 

I declare war on he who makes an enemy of My friend. 

is narrated by Abu Huraira J^, in Bukhari, and also by 'A'isha %., 
Maimuna %>, Anas JL and Abu Imama i§^. Wahab ibn Munabba says, 
"I read a verse in the Psalms of David [Zabur] in which Allah 0i says, 'I 
swear by My honor and majesty, whoever debases My friend has prepared 
himself for war with Me.'" 6 

The Blessed Prophet Jfe said, "Jibra ll jgl narrates that Allah Jg» says, 
'Whosoever debases my friend, has prepared himself for war with Me. In 
my love for My friends, I am enraged like a furious lion.'" 7 

It is still bearable if one's ears are cut, his eyes gouged, and arms and 
legs dismembered for debasing the friends of Allah 0i for the pains and 

Shari'a &Taeuqa 

tribulations of this world will come to an end and the doors of repentance 
are still open. But what is one to do if his Iman is destroyed? The scholars 
say that besides dealing in usury and debasing the friends of Allah 0i, no 
other sin is mentioned in the Quran and Sunna which incites war with 
Allah 0z. This is a clear indication of the graveness of these two sins and 
that any person involved in any one of them may die in disbelief 

The author of Mazahir al-Haqq writes, "The declaration of war indi- 
cates an unfavorable death. It is the greatest wish of every Muslim to gain 
the eternal blessing of Allah gjjgi to die as a Muslim. You can only imagine 
how destructive a matter must be which leads to death in disbelief." 

To hold contempt for the Sufiya who establish the Sunna, destroy the 
innovations, especially those who are also great scholars of Din and are 
pious, and who are keepers of the esoteric meanings, is a disaster. In Islam, 
the threat against one who deals with the friends of Allah 0i in this way is 
dangerous. What a formidable position to be in war with Allah jjjjgt. 

When a person becomes hostile towards the friends of Allah 0z it is 
clear proof that such a person is full of defiance of Allah $gz. It is most 
likely that such a person will die in disbelief. 

Sha'ranI writes in Tabaqat al-Kubra, 

Imam Abu Turab Nashabl, one of the greatest of the Sufiya, says, 
"When any person becomes defiant of Allah 0i, objections and ac- 
cusations against the friends of Allah Jga becomes beloved to him." 
In other words, any person who loses touch with Allah J& becomes 
accustomed to raising objections against the friends of Allah 0z. 

I have discussed this book at length in al-I'tiddl in ten to twelve pages. 
Where loving the friends of Allah $£ is the most effective antidote hating 
them is the most deadly poison. I always advise my friends that there are 
many ways of serving the Din and participating in every single one of them 
is difficult: becoming a hadith master, jurist, gaining taqwa, performing a 
lot of optional salat, to fast continuously, etc. But if a person develops love 
for the friends of Allah 0i then by the rule mentioned in the hadith that, 

A man will be with whom he loves. 8 


Debasing the Friends of Allah $& 

He will attain a great portion of reward as if working in each one of 
these fields of Din [as all those who served the Din in different capacities 
were all friends of Allah $£»]. 

jyt^l^ulj^iU^ljAM ^Pj^UlL^t-^^jjjj^lJlU- 

And our final supplication is that all praise is due to Allah, the 
Cherisher of the Worlds, and may His eternal peace and blessings be 
upon the Master of the Messengers, the Seal of the Prophets, the 
Beloved to the Lord of the Worlds, Muhammad §k, and upon his 
family and companions, and all those who followed him, with Your 
Mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful. 

Completed before Maghrib on the day of fumu'a on the 11th of 
Jumada al-Awwal ijgy [April 29th 1977] in the Masjid of the Blessed 
Prophet §k-Muhammad Zakariyya, may he be pc 


Shari'a & TarIqa 


i 9:100 

2 Kanz al-Ummal, 3/179 

3 Kanz al-'Ummal, 1/515 

4 Bukharl, al-Tawddu 

5 Shaikh Muhammad Yahya Kandhelwi (1871-1917) was Shaikh Zakariyya's father. He 
was appointed by his shaikh, Shaikh Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri, to teach the books 
of hadith after he [Shaikh Khalil Ahmad] migrated to Hijaz. Throughout his life he 
taught hadith and recited one Qur'an daily for six months after he memorized Quran 
at the age of seven [approximately 464 Qur'an]. He possessed the rare ability of being 
able to recite Quran while doing any work without stumbling in his recitation. 

6 al-Mu jam al-Ausat, 1/192 

7 Kanz 'Ummal, 1/231 

8 Bukhari, 'Alamatu al-Hubbfi Allah 


Appendix I 

i The general [amm] is defined as a word which applies to many 
things, not limited in number, and includes everything to which it is 

2 The specific [khas] is defined as a word which is applied to a limited 
number of things, including everything to which it can be applied, 
whether it be one or two or a hundred. 1 

3 The homonym [mushtarak] is a word which has more than one 
meaning. 2 

4 The interpreted meaning [mu'awwal] is the meaning which is de- 
rived after a careful study of the word usage and its context and other 
such helpful signs by which the single meaning of that word can be 

The manifest [zahir] is a word which has a clear meaning and yet is open 
to interpretation [ta'wil]. 

Another type of manifest is the nass, the only difference between the two 
being that the latter does not constitute the dominant theme of the text 
whereas the nass does. 

The unequivocal [mufassar] is a word whose meaning is completely clear 
and is, at the same time, in harmony with the context in which it appears. 

The transparent [muhkam] is a word or words whose meaning is clear and 
beyond doubt and not open to interpretation [ta'wil]. 3 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

The obscure [kbafi] denotes a word which has a basic meaning but is partial- 
ly ambiguous in respect of some of the individual cases to which it is applied. 

The difficult [mushkil] denotes a word which is inherently ambiguous, and 
whose ambiguity can only be removed by means of research and ijtihad. 

The ambivalent [mujmal] denotes a word or text which is inherently un- 
clear and gives no indication as to its precise meaning. 

The intricate [mutashdbih] denotes a word whose meaning is a total 
mystery 4 

i The literal [haqlql] is a word used in its primary and original meaning. 

2 The metaphorical [majdz] is when a word is taken from its original 
meaning and transferred to a secondary one on grounds of a relation- 
ship between the two meanings. 

3 The plain [sarlh] is the application of a word as such that it clearly 
discloses the speaker's intention 

4 The allusive [kindya] denotes a form of speech which does not clearly 
disclose the intention of its speaker. 5 

The explicit meaning ['ibdrat al-nass] is the immediate meaning of the text 
which is derived from the obviousness of the words. 

The allusive meaning [ishdrat al-nass] is not obvious in the text but which 
is understood concomitantly and rationally through deep analysis of indi- 
cations therein. 

The inferred meaning [daldlat al-nass] is derived from the spirit of the text 
though it may not be indicated in its words. Unlike the explicit and allu- 
sive meaning the inferred meaning is derived through analogy by way of 
an effective cause ['ilia] that is common between the explicit and meaning 
that is derived through inference. 

The required meaning [iqtida' al-nass] is the meaning on which the text 
itself is silent and yet which must be read into it if it is to fulfil its proper 
objective. 6 


Appendix I 


1 Kamali, Muhammad Hashim. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, 104 

2 Ibid, 119 

3 Ibid, 91-97 

4 Ibid, 99-102 

5 Ibid, 116-118 

6 Ibid, 125-128 


Appendix II 

A Reversed Hadith [Maqlub] 

This hadith denotes a reverse in the name of two narrators. 

A Disrupted Hadith [Mudtarib] 

This hadith denotes a disruption in the chain of transmission [sanad] 
or wording [matan] of a hadith which may come in the form of a 
change or confusion in the wording of the hadith and/or change or 
confusion in a narrator within the chain of transmission. 

A Dot-Distorted Hadith [Musahhaf] 

A dot-distorted hadith denotes an omission or addition of a diacriti- 
cal point in a word within the wording [matan] of a hadith. 

A Vowel-Distorted Hadith [Muharraf] 

A vowel-distorted Hadith denotes an omission or addition of a dia- 
critical mark in a word within the wording of the hadith. 

Attribution of a Narration to the Blessed Prophet j§& [Marfu] 

is when the hadith is transmitted in ascending order to the Blessed 
Prophet j§&. 

Attribution of a Narration to a Companion £§> [Mauquf] 

is when a hadith is transmitted in ascending order to a 
Companion £§t of the Blessed Prophet j§&. Attribution of a hadith 
to any of the First Successors to the Companions j$t [Tabi'ln] of 
the golden era [khair al-qurun] [mauquf] — is when the hadith is 


Appendix II 

transmitted in ascending order to the First Successors who came im- 
mediately after the Companions £§t. 

An Authoritative Transmission [musnad] 

is when each narrator asserts hearing the hadith directly from his 
teacher throughout the chain. 

An Absolute High-ranking Transmission [al-'Aluww al-Mutlaq] 

is a hadith whose chain of transmission reaches the Blessed 
Prophet j§s in ascending order and contains the smallest number of 
narrators of all the chains of transmission of that hadith. 

A Relative High-ranking Transmission [al-'Aluww al-Nasabi] 

is a hadith whose chain of transmission reaches one of the great 
imams of hadith [as in Sh'uba, Malik, Sufyan al-Thauri] in ascend- 
ing order and which contains the smallest number of narrators of all 
the chains of transmission of that hadith. 

One type of relative high-ranking narration [al-'Aluww al-Nasabi] 
is the conforming narration [al-Muwafaqa] in which the narrator 
transmits the hadith from the teacher of one of the great imams of 
hadith through a different narrator. In this way, he conforms with 
the great imam on arriving at the same teacher for that hadith. 

The Equal Transmission [al-Musawat] 

If the number of narrators between the narrator to the end is 
the same as that of another chain of transmission of the same 
hadith from anyone of the imams of hadith [Bukhdri, Muslim, 
Abu Dawiid]. 

The Handshake Transmission [Musafaha] 

is a sub-type of the equal transmission [al-Musdwdt] except that the 
number of narrators in one chain is the same as another chain until 
the student of the imam who is transmitting the same hadith with 
a different chain. In this way, the narrator of the first chain is trans- 
mitting the same hadith from the imam as the student but with a 
different chain of transmission. Since the narrator met the imam it is 
called the handshake transmission [Musafaha] because when people 
meet they also shake hands. 


Shari'a &Taeuqa 

A Descending Transmission [Nuzuf] 

is the longest chain of transmission in any hadith. 

A Contemporary Transmission [Aqrdn] 

When a narrator transmits a hadith from a narrator who is of the 
same age group, met the same teachers of ahadith, and transmitted 
hadith from the elders like himself. 

The Reciprocal Transmission [Mudabbaj] 

The reciprocal narration [Mudabbaj] is a sub-type of a contemporary 
narration [Aqrdn] in which both narrators are contemporaries, the 
only differerence being that in the reciprocal narration [Mudabbaj] 
both narrators transmit hadith from each other. 

Transmission of the Elders from the Younger [Riwdyat al-Akdbir 
'an al-Asdghir] 

If a narrator transmits a hadith from one who is younger than him in 
age, of a lower caliber or lower level in his knowledge and sharpness 
in memorization of ahadith. 

The Preceder and the Follower Transmission [Al-Sdbiq wa al-Ldhiq] 

When two narrators transmit from the same teacher and one dies 
before the other. 

The Faithful Transmission [Musalsal] 

When the wording used by each narrator in a chain to describe the 
transmission of the hadith from his teacher is the same throughout 
the chain. 

The Unified Transmission [Muttafiq] 

is when the names of the narrators and the narrator's fathers are the 
same in a chain. 

The Differential Transmission [Muftariq] 

is the opposite of the the Unified Transmission [Muttafiq] in that the 
names of the narrators and the narrator's fathers are different. 

The Concordant Transmission [Mu'talif] 

is when the names of the narrators are spelled and pronounced the 
same in a chain. 


Appendix II 

The Discordant Transmission [Mukhtalif] 

is when the names of the narrators are spelled the same but pro- 
nounced differently. 

The Resembling Transmission [Mutashabih] 

is when the names of the narrators in a chain are spelled and pro- 
nounced the same but the names of their fathers are pronounced 
differently though they are spelled the same. 

How did Islamic law dcvcli 

What are the Foundations of Islamic jurisprudence? 

What is the relationship between Shari\i and Tariqa? 

What is u/qlid and does it still hold relevance in our time? 

Which sciences must be mastered before one can interpret Quran or Hadith? 

Shari'a and biriqa is an essential book lor anyone wishing to understand the foun- 
dations and application ol Islamic law. and the relationship thai purification ni the 
Ir.ui has with Islamic jurisprudence. I he esteemed author, in this, his last 
and final work, draws evidence From the Quran, Stinna, I'ious Predecessors, past and 
recent scholars, history, and rationale to clarify the contusion mariv have when 
searching For a true scholar of Islam. This book explains how many of the controversies 
and sectarianism within the ummah today are horn out ol ignorance of both Shari'a 
and Tariqa. 

in 1897 in Kaudhla, U.I'. [Indi.i|. He was privately tutored by his father. Shaikh Yaliv.i. 
in the Islamic sciences and completed the six books ol hadith with him. He dedicated 
his iile to the teaching and writing of hadith. He worked under his shaikh, Khalil 
Ahmed Saharanpuri, to complete the eighteen volume commentary ol Al/ti IX'twud and 
later himsell wrote the monumental twenty-three volume commentary of Muwiiua' 
Imam Malik over a span of thirty years. His other famous hooks are I'tida'il'e-A'ittdL 
Kha$d'U-e-Nabatvl [commentary ol Shamd'il aJrTirmidhl], and al-Abwab w,i ai- 
Tardjum [explanation ol the chapters ol Sahib ai-Bukhdri] He began teaching the 
Islamic sciences ai the .me ol iwciilv and taueht hadith lor 46 years [ I92.1- 1969!. 

He remained in the company of his shaikh, the hadith master, Khalil Ahmad 
Saharanpuri, for seventeen years until his shaikhs dv.nh in 1927. lie was granted 
successorship [kbilaLi] by his shaikh in 1925. 

Hundreds ol devotees would come From around the world to benefit from his spiritual 
lotnpam during the month ->l Ramadan In his latei years, despite being in< apa< itated 
b) si< kness and old age, he continued to travel to diflereiu countries in order to revive 
thedhikr [remembrance] ol Allah ■ . I lis last Ramadan was spent in South Africa. His 
-in cessors continue his legacy and many, by his order, have gone on to establish Islamic 
schools in many ditleietit parts of the world. He passed away [as he desired] in the 
blessed city oi Madina in I9S2 and is buried in fannat dl-Baql' [the graveyard adjacent 
to the masjid ol the Blessed Prophet .-&]. 

SI i ■>') I v\ 

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